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Do school administrators have the right or authority to ban organizations wanting to support fundraising events?

Updated on September 17, 2014



New questions have surfaced about the legal authority of school administrations to ban organizations which support fundraising activities for school activities. It is true that authority of these administrators may be different depending upon the state but overall public schools are public property. Businesses and individuals alike pay taxes which support the schools and as such they have a right to be a part of fundraising events on school property.

Recently a decision by a school principle in California to ban a company such as Chick- Fil-a from participating in a fundraising event on school property is both an act of discrimination and may violate their constitutional rights. There was no problem from what has been reported that the company could participate in this activity just not on school property. The focus of the event was football uniforms but the focus is not the issue. The issue is the opinion of administrative officials of a public school whether they have the right and/or the authority to refuse access to school property. If such authority exists in the state of California it should be eliminated.

Any individual who has the responsibility and authority to make decisions regarding school property does not have the right to inflict their opinion of an organization with regards to access to school property. This is not the first time that an organization has been restricted from using public property such as a school as there have been issues regarding use by religious organizations. Granted the use of the property is different between these examples but the decision to restrict access to public facilities which are supported by taxpayer funds is questionable at best.

The reason behind the restriction was stated as being the fear of offending some individuals if this organization were permitted to be a part of the school event on school property. I understand to some extent the concerns raised by the administration but any fear of offending others by allowing access to a public facility is the wrong reason. Any organization which wishes to support fundraising activities on school property should be appreciated not restricted. Organizations pay taxes including their employees and as such they have a legal right to participate in the event cited in this article. The action is not one of the organization wanting to sell the food as it was being donated to raise some funds.

It is understandable to restrict access to school property for security reasons especially when school is in session but a public event such as a fundraiser to support athletic activity does not qualify as a security risk. The decision made was one of an opinion. Individuals have a right to their opinion but they do not have the right to take action against an organization whose aim was only to support the athletic program of the school.

What has become of our schools when administrators have the option in this instance or others to restrict access to public property by organizations that pay taxes to support the school? The organization only wanted to do more and they were not allowed to do participate in the fundraising event on the school campus. As stated earlier this kind of activity should be encouraged not restricted. These kinds of decisions may hamper the raising of funds for other schools if such action becomes routine. It will only hurt not help fundraising activity across the country. If the legal authority exists within current laws in California, it should be removed. Restricting access to public property in this instance violates their rights as citizens and perhaps under the Constitution.

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