In Idaho - Judge dismisses lawsuit to use religious text in school

Who would have thought this would have happened in Idaho of all places? It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Has anything similar happened in other states to charter schools?

BOISE — U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge Monday dismissed Nampa Classical Academy's lawsuit against the state brought so the school could use religious texts in the classroom.

NCA filed the lawsuit against the Idaho Public Charter School Commission and other state officials last year after the Charter Commission decided that NCA could not use the Bible and other religious texts in the classroom.

NCA is a charter school that opened last year with more than 500 students. The Charter Commission has told the school it could shut it down this summer over financial and other issues where the Commission says the school has not operated properly.

Lodge said in his 26-page decision that the Charter Commission did not violate the charter school's rights by prohibiting it from the use religious texts.

“Just the opposite, Defendants (the Charter Commission and state) have acted according to the laws of the State of Idaho and the demands placed upon them by the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution,” Lodge wrote. “... Plaintiffs (NCA) simply are not the master of the content of the public school curriculum in Idaho. That responsibility falls squarely upon the Defendants who have acted appropriately.”

NCA founder and board member Mike Moffett said today the school has not made a decision about whether it will appeal the court order. He referred questions about the lawsuit to the school's attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund. Moffett declined to comment on the decision itself.

The Charter Commission will conduct a hearing Friday, June 11, to discuss its announced intent to revoke NCA's charter. Revoking the charter would lead to the school's closure.

Part of the reason the Charter Commission could revoke NCA charter is because it has not been completely convinced that NCA has followed its order not to use religious texts. NCA officials have insisted that the school has not used religious texts as part of classroom instruction.

Monday night NCA's board decided to close the school for most students three weeks early and schedule to renegotiate contracts with teachers. The decision came after the school's failure to obtain $166,000 of public funding.

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Bravo to Judge Lodge!




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