Protect the rights of Christian Education at VCCS

Campaign Created by: Friends of VCCS

Goal: USD $30,000
Raised: USD $ 20,860

PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT VIOLATES RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES OF PRIVATE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL.  

Your donations will go directly to VCCS to pay for legal fees and services associated with keeping school open and operating.  Below is an excerpt from the press release

Ventura, CA August 29, 2022

 

The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth, PLC announces that they have been retained by Ventura County Christian School (VCCS) to prevent Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) from violating VCCS religious liberties and ongoing discrimination.  Bamieh and De Smeth, on behalf of VCCS will enforce the terms of VCCS lease agreement with VUSD that allows VCCS to operate their Christian school at the historic Washington School building without government interference into their religious practices. VCCS has occupied and provided a Christian Education since 2000at the Washington School Building.  

 

VUSD recently attempted to bar the VCCS from requiring that their faculty share their Christian faith.  This change in policy by VUSD correlates with the new VUSD Superintendent Antonio Castro’s tenure. Superintendent Castro and VUSD School Board have taken a hostile view towards VCCS continuing to provide a Christian Education to their almost two hundred students. When Superintendent Castro’s overt act of prejudice against the Christian school for practicing their faith in educating their students was rejected by VCCS, Superintendent Castro had VUSD lawyers threaten school closures, criminal prosecution, and hostile takeover of the school if VCCS did not abide by his requirements.   

 

VUSD in their new lease proposal also increased rent on the Washington Building by 300%VCCS paid the increase in rent, returned the proposed lease informing VUSD to remove the “anti-Christian” provision deleted and began paying the increased rent in July.  Superintendent Castro happily accepted the increased rent payments over the last two months and continues to do so.  When increasing the rent and religious discrimination did not work to remove VCCS from the Washington Building, VUSD attempted to close VCCS by making the specious claim that VCCS’ s lease was terminated because there were structural issues in one building that made the entire school unsafe for students and faculty.  

 

VUSD provided no evidence or any expert’s opinion that any building on the VCCS campus was unsafe.  VCCS immediately retained an independent structural engineering firm to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of every campus building.   James R. Vinci, a structural engineer, and founder of Vinci and Associates, issued a report dated August 26, 2022.  Mr. Vinci ultimately found the following, “it is our professional opinion that the structure is still sufficient to protect life safety and continued occupation as it has for the past 15 plus years.” 

 

This action by VUSD is pretextual for their discrimination against VCCS as a Christian school that has the right to hire Christian only teachers and staff pursuant to Education Code § 221 and the 1st Amendment exercise of their religion. VUSD as an arm of the state cannot inhibit a private Christian School’s exercise of their religious beliefs because to do so would constitute excessive government entanglement with religion in violation of the Establishment Clause.  (Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).)

 

Ron Bamieh stated, “VUSD, led by Superintendent Castro hadecided to try and close a Christian school.  I have attempted to understand their reasoning and initially assumed their motivation was financial or because they had other plans for the propertyUnfortunately VUSD’s motivation appears more nefarious.  Their attempts to bully the administrators of VCCS must now end.  If not, we will ask the court to intervene.  We are proud to stand against any government organization that attempts to use any form of discrimination to suppress the rights of any citizen in our community.  We hope VUSD comes to their senses and does not allow their prejudice to impact the education of almost 200 kids.”   

 

For more information, attend the press conference on August 29th at 9:00am or tune in on Facebook via Bamieh & De Smith’s Facebook page (@Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC Your Counsel on the Central Coast).  At the press conference, Ron Bamieh, Founding Partner of Bamieh and DeSmeth, Dr. Perry Geue, Administrator of the school, Pastor Brad Lawson will make statements, as well as concerned parents of VCCS students.  Kindly RSVP to attend in person to mail@bamiehdesmeth.com


UPDATES

Update #1
August 31, 2022
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Thank you to all of you that helped to get the word out and joined us at the press conference 8/29/22.  ABC7, KTLA, VC Star, and approximately 200+ other people joined to hear VCCS Attorney Ron Bamieh speak.

VUSD has served VCCS with a 3 day notice to vacate the property and have been meeting in closed session to discuss possible litigation.  This fight is far from over! Please continue praying and supporting VCCS.

Monday, August 29th was also the first day of the 2022-2023 school year for VCCS.  Wishing these children a happy school year full of learning, love, and no more distractions.

God Bless You,

Friends of VCCS

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