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Protest Prompts Millikan High School Official to Cancel Charter of Campus Bible Study Group

November 26, 1987

LONG BEACH — Millikan High School has withdrawn its sponsorship of a campus Bible study club after a residents group complained that such sponsorship is illegal.

"Sometimes we're put in a position where we'd like to support something because their goals are healthy, but it's against the law," said Ed Eveland, assistant superintendent in charge of secondary schools, who last week ordered Millikan High School to cancel the charter of a campus club called the Bible Study Group.

The action, he said, came after an organization called Friends of Public Education complained to his office. Under a federal law enacted in 1984, Eveland said, off-campus religious groups are allowed to hold meetings on campus during non-instructional hours, but not under the sponsorship of a public school.

The Millikan group had held several lunchtime meetings attended up to 100 students since requesting school sponsorship earlier this fall, according to Millikan Principal Wendol Murray. In what he now admits was a misreading of the law, Murray said he granted the request "so I could kind of have a handle on what was going on."

Without school sponsorship, he said, the Bible group will continue to meet but will no longer be allowed to promote its events nor raise money on campus. The club will also lose the official services of its two faculty advisers, he said, although both plan to continue attending club gatherings in an unofficial capacity.

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