By WND Staff
A state raid on a Christian school in northern California by 16 California Highway Patrol officers, two canine units and 17 social workers happened when authorities were duped by an "internet rumor" that the school housed illegal drugs, stockpiled weapons, and was "preparing for an end-times apocalypse.
"The facts that the main impact of the ruse was to terrify students and staff members and there was no evidence of those behaviors, however, wasn't going to force authorities to waste their time.
So they promptly said the River View Christian Academy was actually not a school but was a "community care facility," and because of that, was subject to a lot of additional rules and regulations.
And since those were not being met, it needed to be shut down.
The arguments appeared to be making progress until they ran up against Shasta County Superior Court Judge Tamara Woods, who said the state's demand to close the school had First Amendment implications.
So she refused, setting up the next step in the disagreement between ministry leaders trying to help local children and a state juggernaut of rules and requirements.
Kevin Snider is chief counsel for Pacific Justice, which is working on behalf of the school.
"The state's crusade against this Christian school is chilling. If they can get away with this, there is little to stop them from targeting other Christian schools on a purely ideological basis," he said.
He noted the next step that is scheduled is a trial next spring.
Pacific Justice Institute President Brad Dacus explained, "Since our founding, PJI has fought hard for the rights of families in the public schools, private schools, and home schools. It is absolutely essential to our future as a nation that we preserve the rights of parents to choose the best educational options for their children. Several years ago we fought hard and succeeded in thwarting the government’s efforts to end homeschooling in California. We must now defeat the state's latest effort to control Christian school."
The disastrous raid was last January, but the "Waco-style" attack produced no evidence, PJI explained.
"Instead of retreating from its dangerous blunder, the state doubled down and began imposing daily fines against the school for allegedly operating as an 'unlicensed community care facility.' This is in spite of the fact that the state has confirmed three times over the past 10 years that RVCA is operating legally as a school. RVCA has actually operated as a private school for the past 25 years, filing an annual affidavit with the California Department of Education as do other private schools and homeschools in the state," PJI explained.
The designation of a care center would subject the school to all the requirements of the California Department of Social Services, rules that are inapplicable to the school's present operations.
"The school has never thought of itself as such a facility, which would involve entirely different regulations than a school. Licensing is more than just an administrative headache—it would require the Christian school to relinquish its moral standards. For instance, the state requires that licensed facilities allow students to have the right to engage in spiritual and sexual exploration, which contradicts the goals of many parents who enroll their kids in RVCA," PJI said.