by Richard Haddad
A new Arizona state law has some middle school administrators considering whether to pull the plug on after-school clubs.
Simply stated, the law prohibits middle schools and junior highs from banning after-school clubs based on religion or politics.
This means if Rim Country Middle School administrators want to continue to offer the Kiwanis-sponsored Builders Club and the teacher-sponsored Outdoor Adventure Club, they must also allow clubs with religious, political or philosophical content. And while a Bible club may not be something the community would take up arms to prevent, some parents worry that the law opens the door to more controversial groups such as atheist clubs, communist clubs, gay\lesbian clubs and even satan-worship clubs.
But to cancel all clubs is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. My daughter and her friends have been involved in the Kiwanis Builders Club for some time. It is a wonderful group that offers children opportunities to build leadership skills, gain confidence, be of service in the community and associate with good friends. The Outdoor Adventure Club is respected among parents and teachers. It's an active club that provides an environment of social learning for many students who might not otherwise be involved in extra-curricular activities such as sports or music.
We live in a country where the freedom to worship or be involved has always created risks.
It's unlikely that a Ku Klux Klan club or other morally reprehensible groups will ever form at Rim Country Middle School, but even if they do, such organizations should not be allowed to crowd out the positive clubs our children already enjoy.