Club Controversy

SJUSD faces conflict regarding welcoming policies within clubs


Zoe Harms, Co-Editor-in-Chief

During the 2018-2019 school year, the San Jose Unified School District made a move to de-recognize the Fellowship of Christain Athletes (FCA) in SJUSD based on discrimination allegations towards the group’s statement of faith. 

The FCA was originally formed in 1954 and has been in many long-standing institutions all over the US. The district noted an issue with their sexual purity statement, which members of the FCA have to believe and repeat in order to be in a leadership role in the club. 

The statement that comes into question is this: “The biblical description of marriage is one man and one woman in a lifelong commitment.” Members who are part of the LGBTQ+ community felt unwelcome, making the district feel this was controversial. Because of this, SJUSD withdrew recognition of the club. 

In April 2020, two members of the FCA filed a lawsuit against the district under allegations of being discriminated against themselves and denying the right to religious freedom in school. 

During the court case FCA pointed to the Leland Senior Women’s Club asserting that they are in a similar situation regarding their joining policy.

Leland has an all-comers policy that the Senior Woman’s Club signed, allowing anyone to join the club, however in their personal club rules it says you have to be a girl to join. The FCA did not sign the all-comers policy. 

The case is still ongoing and, as of now, the club is not recognized by the district. However, clubs can still meet at school with no funding and no yearbook recognition. 

This is a challenging situation. On one hand, the club is said to be discriminatory by many students and SJUSD, however, the district can’t target them for what their religion states because of the First Amendment which includes the Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Religion.

When asked for a comment the FCA and Gunderson Principal Dr. Anisha Dalal were unavailable. Since this is an ongoing case, the district was not available for comment. 

SJUSD is working to revise club rules to ensure this issue doesn’t come up again. Now, if students want to form a club, they have to explicitly state that all students are welcome. 

Club Rush should be happening in the near future. Until then, clubs are permitted to have informal meetings but club events are not allowed on campus.