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Student, family ‘harassed’ over secular club request comment (0)

March 13, 2014

CANTON, N.C. — A North Carolina high school student who sought to establish a school club for nonbelievers has reversed course after what she and her family have described as harassment and threats.

In October 2013, Kalei Wilson, 15, and her brother, Ben, 17, asked to launch a chapter of Secular Student Alliance (SSA), a national organization of college and high school students, at Pisgah High School in Canton, N.C.

Documents sent in February 2014 by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina on behalf of the students claim the brother and sister made multiple requests that were ignored and not dealt with in a timely manner by the school. They warned administrators that ignoring the students’ requests placed the school in violation of the Equal Access Act.

Several days later, Kalei Wilson announced she had been granted permission to start a club. “To me it means change and improvement in the school,” she said at the time. “I hope to teach them more about equality and the separation between church and state.”

But within a week, she reversed course, saying she and her family had been threatened and harassed. They declined to comment for this story, citing concerns for their safety.

Jessica Kirsner, a development associate with SSA, called Kalei Wilson’s reasons for not going ahead with the club “bullying beyond what any student should have to face.”

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