'Second-class treatment' out the door

Tuesday, January 26, 2021
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

high school students studyingAlliance Defending Freedom has won a court battle in Vermont aimed at protecting the rights of students who have chosen a faith-based education.

Under Vermont's Dual Enrollment Program, high school students can enroll in two college courses free of charge. But a high school student, her parents, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington filed a lawsuit claiming the state was discriminating against faith-based education students.

According to Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jake Warner, a ruling by a federal appeals court earlier this month has now leveled the playing field.

"The [Second U.S. Court of Appeals] said that Vermont could not discriminate against religious school students when [the state] opened up a public benefit program that allowed public school students, private secular school students, and homeschool students to enjoy its benefits but denied those same benefits to private religious school students," he explains.

Warner

"Vermont officials can't treat people of faith as second-class citizens by excluding them from generally available public benefits," he adds. "[This ruling ensures] that Vermont parents and students who have chosen a faith-based education can enjoy the same publicly available opportunities as their neighbors."

Warner doubts Vermont education officials will appeal. "The state certainly could appeal this decision either to the Second Circuit en banc or even to the U.S. Supreme Court," says the legal counsel, "[but] we don't think there's any precedent or reason to do so because the law is so clear."

The lawsuit filed in Vermont was A.M. v. French.

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