A "Christ-centered" legal group has filed a federal lawsuit against a high school in New York, accusing it of religious discrimination after it disbanded a student Christian club while leaving dozens of other clubs active.
The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund claims the Christian club, called Ichthus, was cancelled without notice after being in operation for four years.
ADF filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Islip on behalf of a student at Half Hollow Hills High School East in the Long Island town of Dix Hills.
ADF attorney David Cortman said Ichthus was disbanded even though there was student interest in keeping it going.
"This is pure and simple a case of viewpoint discrimination against Christian students," Cortman told Fox News. "This is a school that has 60 student clubs. They have, of course, a gay-straight alliance; they have a fashion club, which is important because we all have to look good; they have a future lawyers of America, which it is obvious why they didnít cancel their club.
"They also have a club that deals with the Constitution, which is probably a good club for school officials to take.
"But what is interesting here is that [of] all those clubs, they decide to deny the Christian club."
But Dr. Sheldon Karnilow, the district superintendent, denies that disbanding the club was a discrimination issue. He said the decision was strictly budgetary.
"We don't discriminate in any way, shape or form," he said. "As long as it's a legitimate club with student interest that is not harmful to students, we let a club run."
Karnilow said the school principal is the one who decides which clubs to keep open, based on two criteria: student interest and the availability of a willing faculty adviser. He said the funding for Ichthus was cut "along with about 16 other clubs.