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Appeals court: Vermont can’t discriminate against children attending religious high schools

Published On: 1/15/2021

Related Case: A.M. v. French


The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jake Warner regarding the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit’s decision Friday to grant a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit A.H. v. French (formerly A.M. v. French, and not to be confused by a separate case with the same name) that stops Vermont officials from excluding religious-school students from the state’s Dual Enrollment Program, which had allowed public, private secular, and home-school students to enroll at not cost to them in two college courses before graduating high school but denies that same opportunity to religious-school students:

“Vermont officials can’t treat people of faith as second-class citizens by excluding them from generally available public benefits. When the government allows same-district students from public schools, secular private schools, and homeschools to participate in its dual enrollment program but excludes only students from religious private schools, it discriminates against religious students. Today’s decision levels the playing field by ensuring that Vermont parents and students who have chosen a faith-based education can enjoy the same publicly available opportunities as their neighbors.”

Attorneys for a high school student, her parents, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington filed the lawsuit A.M. v. French in district court. They argued that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue and in the ADF case Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, support ending Vermont’s discrimination in its dual enrollment program.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

 

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