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Parents of students at Fresno schools are accusing a Christian group of attempting to “indoctrinate” students after offering free pizza during lunch hour. Three parents of students at Reyburn Intermediate and Clovis East High schools in Fresno have complained about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) offering students free pizza during the school lunch hour if they attended a brief presentation about Christianity. Parents noted that leaders from the FCA would also pray during the presentation. One parent called the presentation “wrong” and accused the group of “luring” students. “They’re basically luring in kids that are under 18, that are still trying to find themselves and are still trying to explore,” said the parent, who asked to remain anonymous. Parents also complained that they were not notified of FCA’s presence during the lunch hour, nor were they given any permission slips in order for their students to attend the club.

The FCA has often found itself in the crosshairs of controversy. The club was one of the groups that had previously received charitable donations from Chick-Fil-A. Chick-Fil-A was accused of being anti-LGBTQ for donating to the FCA, as the club stands for traditional marriage and against transgender ideology. The controversy led to threats of boycotts against Chick-Fil-A. Chick-Fil-A eventually ended its charitable giving to the FCA and Salvation Army in 2019. In 2023, a federal court ruled to reinstate the FCA’s right to hold events at a San Jose high school after the high school banned the group for requiring its leaders to agree to the club’s core religious values. The court ruled that the school had treated the FCA to a “double standard” and unfairly discriminated against them.

While parents complained about the FCA’s meeting taking place during school hours, being announced during school-wide announcements, and “using pizza as a way to get children in,” Clovis Unified’s spokesperson Kelly Avants stated the club was following school guidelines as an affiliated student-led club. The school has over 40 student-led clubs, including a Sikh club and a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). Avants stated that faculty advisors ensure that the clubs follow school rules. Clovis was also criticized last year by LGBTQ+ groups after it canceled using the school to host events by outside groups during school hours (7am to 6pm). LGBTQ+ groups claimed the move was discriminatory after the school failed to approve an LGBTQ+ group’s request to use the school for an “after school story hour” for elementary students. However, the school’s new policy also canceled FCA events and the school states the decision was due to too many club activities crowding out regular student activities during the school day.

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