Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Politics

Calif. sued for barring religious schools from special ed funds


School, Crayons, Daycare, Education, Student, Classroom
Unsplash/Aaron Burden

A group of Jewish parents is suing California over a state law that prohibits religious schools from being eligible to receive special education funds meant to help children with disabilities.

The complaint was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the California Department of Education, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, the Los Angeles Unified School District and Anthony Aguilar, chief of Special Education, Equity, and Access.

The legal filing alleges that the defendants violate the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause by refusing to provide funds for parents to send their special needs kids to Orthodox Jewish schools.

The California Education Code requires that schools that receive federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funding be “nonsectarian.”

“Defendants have not waived and will not waive the ‘nonsectarian’ requirement necessary for private religious schools to access otherwise generally available public funding,” reads the complaint.

“California law thus treats comparable secular conduct more favorably than religious conduct, and it allows individualized exemptions for secular private schools but not religious ones.”

The Jewish parents are represented by Becket Law, a Washington, D.C.-based legal group that has successfully argued religious liberty cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“It takes a special kind of chutzpah to deny Jewish kids with disabilities equal access to special education benefits,” said Eric Rassbach, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, in a statement Monday.

“California politicians can end this unlawful discrimination the easy way or the hard way. Either they change the law that is hurting children with disabilities, or they can shamefully fight in court for the right to discriminate.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The complaint cites as justification the Supreme Court case of David Carson et al. v. A. Pender Makin, in which the high court ruled 6-3 last year that Maine could not prohibit parents from using a state tuition program to send their children to religious private schools.

Chief Justice John Roberts authored the majority opinion, concluding, “we have repeatedly held that a State violates the Free Exercise Clause when it excludes religious observers from otherwise available public benefits.”

“As noted, a neutral benefit program in which public funds flow to religious organizations through the independent choices of private benefit recipients does not offend the Establishment Clause,” wrote Roberts.

“Maine’s ‘nonsectarian’ requirement for its otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Regardless of how the benefit and restriction are described, the program operates to identify and exclude otherwise eligible schools on the basis of their religious exercise.” 

The lawsuit also cites the 2017 Supreme Court ruling of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer. The high court ruled 7-2 that a Missouri church can’t be prohibited from benefiting from the state’s secular aid program to help repair its daycare playground because it is a church.

“[T]he exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand,” Roberts wrote in the majority decision. 

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

Free Religious Freedom Updates

Join thousands of others to get the FREEDOM POST newsletter for free, sent twice a week from The Christian Post.



Loading

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

You May Also Like

Politics

Country music star Travis Tritt is joining Kid Rock and firing back at Bud Light over a promotional stunt that backfired. Kid Rock went...

Politics

Ex-Fox News star Tucker Carlson just got a massive $100 million offer to join the new media company Valuetainment. CEO of Valuetainment Patrick Bet-David...

Politics

Fox News has named the next replacement host for former star anchor Tucker Carlson’s timeslot. The network has seen a massive ratings drop during...

Politics

Geraldo Rivera, the veteran television host, has been canceled by Fox News’ hit show The Five. Geraldo whined about it on social media suggesting...

Politics

Kellyanne Conway’s teenage daughter Claudia has joined Playboy as a Bunny on the magazine’s online competitor to Only Fans. Claudia has been operating a...

Politics

The Spectator editor-at-large Ben Domenech says ‘it’s absolutely ridiculous’ to hear this rhetoric from Joe Biden. Subscribe to Fox …

Politics

Texas rancher Stephanie Canales explains how President Biden’s border crisis has ‘come at a huge cost’ to their business.

Politics

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan put failed Presidential candidate and the woman behind the biggest dirty trick in American politics, Hillary Clinton on notice...

Politics

Legendary rapper Rick Ross has offered ex-CNN host Don Lemon a job, at Wingstop. (See Video Below) Ross said: “Just found out Don Lemon...

Politics

Actor Tom Hanks has been named the Harvard class of 2023 commencement speaker, the university announced. Hanks, 66, will …

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement