HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — There are new developments concerning Cabell County Schools after more than 100 students reportedly walked out on February 9th following a religious revival event.
Now, some parents and students are taking legal action.
After the student-led walkout on February 9th following the religious revival event put on by Nik Walker Ministries, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is looking to the court system for policy change.
“It is a federal lawsuit filed in district court in West Virginia…From the statements the district has been saying, it sounds like the district believes the only problem is that two classes were forced to attend this religious revival, when the problem is there should not have been a religious revival at the school in the first place,” says Chris Line, a staff attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Together with 11 parents and students, they’re looking for an injunction which would penalize the district if something like this happens again.
“We want something that says that the district definitely can’t allow this to happen again, rather than just taking their word for it because in the past they’ve had all these different incidents and they’ve said they’re going to take care of it and we keep seeing these problems crop up,” Line says.
In the complaint, the foundation says there were times in 2017 and 2019 where the district allowed proselytizing, prayer and religious practices aimed at students to occur.
The complaint says by allowing a religious revival event to happen during the school day, the district violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
“It’s clear there’s something within this district that makes teachers and other administrators believe that they can be having these religious activities taking place, which is not the case, and that’s something we really want to clear up with this lawsuit,” Line says.
A spokesperson for Cabell County Schools says they do not comment on pending litigation, and declined to comment on this.
The parents listed on the lawsuit also declined to comment, telling 13 News since the lawsuit is filed they prefer to let the lawyers and the board handle it from here.
“We’re glad the kids stood up when they did that walkout for the rights and we’re glad to stand by them and we’re glad to have been able to file suit to help make sure that something real comes from what they’ve done,” Line says.
The lawsuit also asks for one dollar in damages to each plaintiff to symbolically show that harm was done.
Line and the parents on the suit say they want to make clear: this is not about money, but about policy changes.
To see the foundation’s announcement, visit their website here.