Fox News Sensationalizes Dissolution of Club

Sapna Nath and Ramya Rao

By Sapna Nath and Ramya Rao, Co-Editors-in-Chief

The title of the Fox News article posted last Monday was the first indicator to us of a sensationalist and somewhat false reporting of a recent club dissolution at Ward Melville High School: “Student bans Christian Club…again.” The media outlet reported that the school has been preventing the existence of a “Christian club” for the last two school years. Not only is the club in question actually called “Students United in Faith,” but it also was dissolved because of the budgetary restraints which have prevented the formation and funding of several other popular clubs in the school and because the number of students attending last year was so low.

The article paints the club as singularly Christian and claims that the school has cruelly prevented it from forming because it promotes religious beliefs – while in reality, Students United in Faith advocates that its purpose is invite students of all faiths to join together to discuss issues of faith and religion.

John Raney, the founder of “Students United in Faith” told Fox News, “They let all these other clubs meet with no problem whatsoever. But the second me and my friends mention faith or mention God, they get up in arms about it.”

In response to the club’s dissolution, Raney contacted the Liberty Institute, a nationally known religious liberty law firm. Fox News quoted Hiram Sasser from the Liberty Institute stating, “This is not a complicated issue… Simply put, public schools cannot discriminate against religious clubs and must treat them equally, and provide them equal access to school facilities, as non-religious clubs… and the law is clear. It doesn’t matter if only two people wanted to join the Christian club – the school would have to accommodate them.”

First of all, funding clubs is always a complicated issue, especially when a school endures budget cuts every year. Their statements would be true if our school had the funding to accommodate the dozens of clubs students have wanted over the years. “From what I’ve been told, no new clubs have been accepted for the fall semester, and in fact a few clubs have been cut,” commented Gary Ge, a senior who has tried to legitimize the Computer Science club which has attracted many students for the past two years.

Fox News is attempting to benefit off an incorrect image of our school by painting the administration as “bigots” when in fact in hard economic times, cuts have had to be made for all clubs. To paint our school administration as religious hating and “sleazy” is simply ignorant and uninformed, and to sensationalize a club as a torch of hope for all Christians when in reality it is accepting of all faiths is a distortion of the truth. Although the superintendent has attempted to explain the real story, it is far easier for a news outlet like Fox to grasp onto an embellished story involving the underdog.