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Church Use of Public School Auditoriums

Court rules that schools must be consistent in allowing religious groups to use their property.

Key point. A public school that makes it auditorium available to community groups, including at least one religious group, cannot deny access to another religious group.

A federal court in New York ruled that a church could not be denied use of public school property that was made available to other community groups including at least one other religious organization. A Methodist church asked permission to conduct a magic show on public school property. The church's application to the school indicated that the show would to be performed by a Christian illusionist, and would include a religious service. The school board denied this request on the basis of a state law banning use of public school property by religious organizations for religious purposes. The church sued the school board, claiming that its actions violated the constitutional guarantees of speech and religion. The church ...

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Posted:
  • March 3, 1997

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