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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ind. Decisions - More on "Federal magistrate urges ban of schools’ faith study"

Updating this Feb. 4th ILB entry, Rebecca S. Green reports today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette in a story that begins:

A federal judge banned Bible trailers from an area school district, granting a request by a woman who claimed the religious education program violated her child’s civil rights.

In a ruling issued Thursday, U.S. District Senior Judge James T. Moody agreed with the findings of Magistrate Judge Roger Cosbey and granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting Huntington County Community Schools from continuing to allow a religious education program to operate on school grounds.

In November, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the school district on behalf of a parent, identified only by her initials, of a child at Horace Mann Elementary School in Huntington.

The federal lawsuit alleged the “By the Book Weekday Religious Instruction” program violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution by allowing religious instruction on school property.

Earlier this year, Cosbey held a hearing about whether the program should be shut down in its current incarnation. School officials argued for a dismissal of the lawsuit.

But Cosbey believed that, while the district would suffer minimal harm if the program were shut down, the plaintiff faced continued “irreparable harm” by the constitutional violation.

Cosbey recommended Moody grant the plaintiff’s request for the removal of the trailer from school property.

Moody agreed.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 21, 2009 07:14 AM
Posted to Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions