So What, Sue Us

 

This is an interesting article from Catholic World Report:

Burlington, Vt., Feb 3, 2019 / 04:25 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Diocese of Burlington is joining two students and their parents in filing a federal lawsuit challenging a Vermont policy that excludes students at private religious schools from taking part in a college credit program.

The Dual Enrollment Program in Vermont allows high school students to take college courses funded by the state. Students from public schools are eligible, as are students from secular private schools, and homeschooled students. However, attendees of private religious high schools are excluded from the program.

Eligibility for the program mirrors the criteria for a separate Town Tuition Program, which does not include private religious schools due to a 1999 Vermont Supreme Court decision which held that the use of public funds to pay tuition at private religious schools was a violation of the state constitution.

But plaintiffs in the lawsuit say the dual enrollment situation is different, since the state is paying for college courses, not the tuition for a religious high school.

Two students from Rice Memorial High School, along with their parents and the Diocese of Burlington, which runs the school, filed the federal suit on Tuesday.

As a rule, I never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. Parents who send their children to parochial schools are not exempt from property, or income taxes that support the public school system. To deny parochial school students access to a taxpayer-supported program their parents are funding should not require a lawsuit to give those students access to that program.

“Vermont is discriminating against students purely based on which kind of school they come from,” said Christen Price, legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the students, parents and diocese in the lawsuit. “Vermont’s program includes public, private secular, and home-school students. Only students from private religious schools are completely excluded.”

“Students should have every opportunity to pursue their educational goals. That’s especially true in this case, where the government isn’t spending any money on religious education,” Price said.

There is no reason that this cannot be changed without litigation in a Federal Court. I’m under no illusion that Fortress Vermont isn’t filled with grumpy old men like Patrick Leahy, or Bernie Sanders, sitting around the woodstove next to the cracker barrel in the general store, polishing their arguments for the next town hall meeting. Even so, an indication that mules may be easier to reason with than bureaucrats in all 50 states is the following statement:

Vermont Secretary of Education Dan French said this week that he was not sure how many schools were excluded from the program, the Burlington Free Press reported.

Published in Education
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There are 8 comments.

  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    I think this is all anti Christian malice, actually.

    • #1
    • February 10, 2019, at 2:57 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt Post author

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I think this is all anti Christian malice, actually.

    Arizona is considered a backward state, filled with deplorables, but it isn’t true:

    Arizona provides tax credits for contributions made to Certified School Tuition Organizations which provide scholarships to students enrolled in Arizona private schools. Credits are available for donations made by individual taxpayers and for donations made by corporate taxpayers.

    A list of organizations that participate.

    • #2
    • February 10, 2019, at 3:30 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Scott Wilmot Member

    Doug Watt: Parents that send their children to parochial schools are not exempt from property, or income taxes that support the public school system.

    Boy howdy I can attest to that. We put all four of our children through Catholic schools and forked over tons of money in property taxes to the state of Texas.

    Doug Watt: There is no reason that this cannot be changed without litigation in a Federal Court.

    I pray that the USCCB will issue a statement against this (please, hold your laughter) and that at a minimum, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne will speak out on this.

    But I won’t hold my breath. And it is very sad to say that.

    • #3
    • February 10, 2019, at 3:42 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Spin Inactive

    Doug, is there any information telling us the rationale used to pass the law?

    • #4
    • February 10, 2019, at 4:19 PM PDT
    • Like
  5. James Gawron Thatcher

    Doug,

    I think all of the arguments that you present are both valid and adequate to have the Vermont policy overthrown. However, not that one always needs to go nuclear (invoke the 1st amendment) but the Vermont policy surely violates the citizen’s right to Freely Exercise their religion. As you point out they are being doubly penalized for educating their own children at their own expense while still paying for the secular system. In light of this, it is a truly grotesque violation of the Free Exercise Clause.

    Nuke’em if necessary. Just to be sure.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #5
    • February 10, 2019, at 4:26 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt Post author

    Spin (View Comment):

    Doug, is there any information telling us the rationale used to pass the law?

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Doug,

    I think all of the arguments that you present are both valid and adequate to have the Vermont policy overthrown. However, not that one always needs to go nuclear (invoke the 1st amendment) but the Vermont policy surely violates the citizen’s right to Freely Exercise their religion. As you point out they are being doubly penalized for educating their own children at their own expense while still paying for the secular system. In light of this, it is a truly grotesque violation of the Free Exercise Clause.

    Nuke’em if necessary. Just to be sure.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I think these types of decisions are made in a vacuum. There are no naysayers among bureaucrats, they think alike, and when confronted with dissent, or a logical argument they refuse to change a decision. I would think that before the suit was filed they were informed that their decision was discriminatory. That doesn’t matter to them because the cost of litigation is just one more cost that will be passed along to the taxpayers in Vermont.

    • #6
    • February 10, 2019, at 5:08 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. milkchaser Member

    Why can’t the parochial school just unregister them for an hour while they attend the college course and then re-register them the next day. That way, technically, they’d be rid of the religious affiliation while in class.

    That may sound like a transparent attempt to get around the policy, but it’s a stupid policy.

    • #7
    • February 11, 2019, at 11:53 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Stad Thatcher

    Anti-religious bias, pure and simple. Now, is this a “policy” or a “law”?

    If it’s a policy, you go after the bureaucrats who made it. If it’s a law, you go after the legislators who voted for it.

    • #8
    • February 11, 2019, at 1:53 PM PDT
    • 1 like