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Press ReleaseReligious Freedom/Church-State
RULE
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 school’s favor, and the mother appealed on the ground that the boy’s 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 discussions."

"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 said.

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.



 
 
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1998 Anti-Defamation League