HERNDON, VA – La Reina High School, a Catholic school for girls in Thousand Oaks, California, has denied student Isabella Foxen’s application to start a Young Americans for Freedom chapter at her school. Administrators arbitrarily demanded Isabella garner 35 student signatures for the application to start the conservative club. Isabella found 86 students to sign on to her endeavor, but the school continued to block her efforts to start her YAF chapter.
La Reina’s excuse? Principal Shannon Gomez says the school’s administration “did not feel the club fostered a balance(d) political perspective” and the school “currently do[es] not have a proposal for an organization that would present the liberal point of view.”
These explanations are lacking for several reasons:
Ø The La Reina High School principal failed to deliver an adequate response when questioned about the school allowing a “Green Team” (an environmental club) and “Human Rights Campaign” on campus.
Ø The La Reina High School principal failed to provide specific ways the faculty fosters a balanced perspective on campus.
Ø The La Reina High School principal failed to provide written policies on club approval and the “balance requirement,” and failed to respond to challenges that these policies are arbitrary.
Ø The La Reina High School principal failed to acknowledge that YAF is a non-political, nonprofit organization focused on educating young people, not engaging in political campaigns.
Principal Shannon Gomez, however, did offer this response: “[T]he decision made at the Administrative Council stands.” She said that the administration “felt that since our students are not of voting age, the wiser course of action would be to educate via a politically neutral club.”
If Isabella and the 86 other students who wanted a conservative club thought they could get a complete perspective from a “neutral” club, they wouldn’t have felt the need to start a YAF chapter. The current clubs at their school do not champion the values these students wish to express.
Young Americans for Freedom, a project of Young America’s Foundation, intends to take appropriate action until La Reina’s policy is reversed. YAF President Ron Robinson said, “Allowing Isabella to start her club would have shown that La Reina is open to intellectual diversity, debate, and discussion. But, despite what students desire, it seems Principal Gomez and La Reina aren’t open to conservative perspectives. There’s no excuse for blocking honest activism by young students, and La Reina should reconsider their decision immediately.”
For further information or to request an interview, please call Ron Meyer at (800) USA-1776.
Young America’s Foundation is an educational organization promoting conservative ideas on our nation’s campuses through lectures, publications, and conferences. During the last year, the Foundation sponsored more than 600 lectures, including addresses by Vice President Dick Cheney, Michelle Malkin, Actor Joe Phillips, Ben Stein, and Steve Forbes. In 1998, Young America’s Foundation saved the Reagan Ranch, and with the Reagan Ranch Center in downtown Santa Barbara, uses it to educate young people about the President’s ideas. To learn more, visit www.yaf.org.