ADL Welcomes Decision Barring Bible Story in Elementary School Class
New York, NY, October 1, 1998...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the
recent decision of the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the right of
a public school teacher to exclude religious material from a first grade class. In C.H.
v. Oliva, the mother of a six-year-old student sued his school after his teacher
forbade him from reading a Bible story to the class. A New Jersey federal district judge
ruled in the schools favor, and the mother appealed on the ground that the
boys rights to the free exercise of religion and free speech had been violated. The
circuit court rejected the argument, noting that public schools should have discretion
"regarding what subjects are appropriate for elementary school classroom
"This decision reaffirms the right of public school teachers to use their
discretion to exclude inappropriate religious material from their classrooms," said
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, and Charles "Shai" Goldstein, ADL New
Jersey Regional Director. "Barring a first grader from reading a Bible story to his
fellow pupils is an appropriate exercise of that discretion," the League officials
ADL filed an amicus brief in the case arguing that the boy did not have a
constitutional right to read the story.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.