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Student Admission at Religious Schools

Court says it cannot get involved in dispute.

Michigan
State:
Key point. Church—operated schools are protected by the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom in making decisions regarding the admission of students.

A Michigan court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to resolve a lawsuit brought by parents challenging the refusal by a church—operated secondary school to readmit their children. The court rejected the parents' claim that the school's actions amounted to a breach of an "implied contract" based on its "established pattern" of readmitting students. The court observed:

When [a] claim involves the provision of the very services (or here refusal to provide these services) for which the organization enjoys first amendment protection, then any claimed contract for such services likely involves its ecclesiastical policies, outside the purview of civil law. In this regard there can be no distinction between ...

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Posted:
  • March 1, 1996

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