Court to consider whether VT religious schools can be singled out for discrimination

ADF attorneys available to media following hearing Monday
Friday, December 11, 2020

WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys

WHAT: Available for media interviews after court hearing in A.H. v. French

WHEN: Monday, Dec. 14, immediately following hearing, which begins at 1 p.m. EST

WHERE: To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Specialist Alice Chao at (202) 734-8987 or submit a request online

 
BURLINGTON, Vt. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys—representing multiple students, their parents, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington—will be available for media interviews Monday following oral argument in federal district court in a lawsuit against Vermont officials. The lawsuit explains that the officials discriminated against the students by denying them tuition vouchers simply because they attend religious high schools in towns without public schools.

The state maintains a Town Tuition Program, which provides educational vouchers for students who live in the towns that lack public schools. Towns that pay tuition for their students instead of maintaining a public high school are called “sending towns,” and they directly pay the full amount of tuition, up to the town’s approved tuition rate, on behalf of their students. Students at public and secular private schools are eligible, and so are home-schooled students, but students at religious private high schools are excluded. That includes Rice Memorial High School, which the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington owns and operates.

“People of faith shouldn’t be treated liked second-class citizens. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states can’t oust parents and children from neutral benefit programs simply because they choose a religious private school, like Rice Memorial,” said ADF Legal Counsel Paul Schmitt, who will argue before the court. “Vermont’s program includes any approved school—public or private; only religious school students are completely excluded. Every student should receive the public benefits they’re legally entitled to, regardless of the school they and their parents choose.”

Thomas E. McCormick, one of more than 3,700 attorneys allied with ADF, is serving as co-counsel for the students, their parents, and the diocese in the case, A.H. v. French, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont.

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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