CNA Staff, Aug 21, 2020 / 14:39 pm
The U.S. Department of Justice has sided with a Vermont Catholic high school student who has said a state program wrongly excluded her participation in a college credit coursework program because she attends a religious private school.
The Vermont Education Agency's Dual Enrollment Program allows high school students to take college courses with tuition paid by the state. Students from public schools are eligible, as are students from secular private schools and homeschooled students. However, students at private religious high schools are excluded.
Challenging this rule are two students known only as A.M. and A.H.. They are enrolled at Rice Memorial High School, a Catholic school run by the Diocese of Burlington. The students, their parents, and the diocese are plaintiffs in the case, A.M. v. French.
In its brief, the civil rights division of the Department of Justice said A.H. has shown a "clear likelihood of success" in claiming that the rule violates the free exercise clause of the U.S. Constitution. The dual enrollment program is open to "similarly situated schools and students attending such schools."