The Freedom From Religion Foundation has prevailed in a court battle over a California school district's censorship.
In a legal settlement signed by U.S. District Judge Manuel Real, the Antelope Valley Union High School District consented to distribute scholarship opportunities offered by FFRF and Antelope Valley Freethinkers. It also agreed to reimburse $10,000 in attorneys' fees.
The district had claimed announcements for essay contests on nonreligious themes would upset parents and even rejected offers to modify the wording. Yet the district listed last year scholarships offered by religious organizations.
FFRF is satisfied that the Antelope Valley Union High School District will not engage in invidious viewpoint discrimination in the future or censor scholarship programs catering to nonreligious students.
"We're sorry it took a lawsuit to get the school district to agree to equal treatment of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and Antelope Valley Freethinkers," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "But we were confident we would prevail. It's also heartening to get a victorious settlement so quickly."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is the largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics) in the United States, with almost 24,000 members, including more than 3,000 in California.
The lawsuit was filed in April in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Western Division. The case was litigated for FFRF by California attorney David J.P. Kaloyanides, with FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel and FFRF Legal Fellow Madeline Ziegler serving as co-counsels.