Wednesday, August 11, 2004
The plaintiffs complained that the way the program was implement violated their Establishment Clause rights because it humiliated them, left non-participants in the program with nothing to do, conveyed a message of endoresement of religion, violated the regulation by allowing students to leave in the middle of the morning session and enabled the students receiving religious instruction to bring religious literature into the classrooms. The school district, while admitting that the policy did not comply with the regulation, argued that it did not violate the Establishment Clause. The District Court granted summary judgment to the school district.
The Second Circuit affirmed. It found that Zorach controlled the case. The Establishment Clause was not violated because no religious instruction took place in the school itself, no expenditure of public funds supported the program and the public school did not promote the instruction beyond collecting permission slips from the parents.
The decision can be found here.