PORTLAND, Ore. — The Hispanic Club, the Chess Club and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance are just some of the clubs that have displays in the hallways of Portland schools.

But after the Bible Club at Marshall High School (search) put a Bible and some other Christian books in a display case, some teachers complained to the principal. After a call to the district's lawyer, the display was taken down.

District officials said they felt the display gave the impression that the school was endorsing Christianity.

Bible Club leader Jeff Chatterton fought back by contacting the American Center for Law and Justice (search), an organization that has taken on a number of similar cases. This week Chatterton filed a federal lawsuit against the school district, saying that his right to free speech was violated.

Chatterton also claimed that the school clearly violated of the Federal Equal Access Act (search). The Supreme Court has ruled that all student groups be given the same access to outlets such as school newspapers, bulletin boards, even the public address system.

Portland schools admit they treat religious and political student groups differently than they do sanctioned academic clubs, but point out that they do give religious groups places to exercise their free speech — just not display cases.


and why not? talk about treating a group like third class citizens!