California school district tries to shut down private Christian school over building concern

The Ventura Unified School District is citing a building safety concern the school's attorney says is "baseless" and "completely disingenuous."
Pedestrians in Long Beach, Ca., Aug. 28, 2022

The Ventura Unified School District near Los Angeles, Calif., is trying to shut down Ventura County Christian School, claiming that their building is structurally unsound and unsafe. 

The Ventura School District terminated the Christian school's lease on Aug. 19, three days before school was supposed to start, according to the Daily Wire. 

Ventura County Christian School says the district's allegation against it is unfounded and its motive is suspect. 

"School has started, and we have no place to go," School Principal Perry Geue told the Ventura County Star. "We just do not agree that the classroom is unsafe. We feel that other intentions are at play."

On Aug. 29, Ventura County Christian School defied the school board's order and had its students come in for class. The board responded with a 3-day notice to vacate the premises. 

The school's lawyer Ron Bamieh called the board's purported safety concerns about the building "baseless" and "completely disingenuous."

"VCCS has been at that location for 22 years with no issues or concerns ever being raised about the safety of the school," Bamieh said in an interview with The Daily Wire.

"This is subterfuge," he continued. "VUSD just lacks the courage to be perceived as closing a Christian school because they want to sell that property so the city can build low-cost housing: or because they know those kids will have no reasonable alternative but to re-enroll in public school and they will benefit from the boost of enrollment of 200 kids in their school system."

The district's action is a constitutional overreach that flouts the First Amendment, Bamieh argues. 

"VCCS is a private school, the law allows them the freedom to practice their religion," the attorney told the Daily Wire. "Any government organization that attempts to inhibit that practice has infringed on that freedom and is illegal."

The school is currently raising money to try to stay open. It has raised $17,000 so far.