VICTORY IN AGOSTINI
Catalyst July/August Issue 1997
On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Agostini v. Felton, overturned previous high court decisions that prohibited public school teachers from offering remedial work to nonpublic school students who attended “pervasively sectarian” schools. The Catholic League filed an amicus brief in Agostini supporting the restoration of this previously non-controversial practice.
The league sent the following news release on this victory:
“The Supreme Court’s decision in Agostini made good constitutional and educational sense. Constitutionally, the ruling jettisons the argument that the mere presence of a public school teacher in a parochial school mysteriously imbues her with religious fervor. As the court said yesterday, ‘there is no reason to presume that, simply because she enters a parochial school classroom [that she] will depart from her assigned duties and instructions and embark on religious indoctrination.’ And that is why not even one teacher, in the 20 years that such programs were available, ever complained about religious indoctrination.
“The decision also brings sanity to the educational process. No more will parochial school students who qualify for remedial work be segregated in vans parked across the street from their school. The signal that such an odious practice sent was psychologically and pedagogically debased and sent an unmistakable message of second-class status to Catholic schoolchildren.
“The Catholic League salutes New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and President Clinton for their steadfast support in this effort.”
This decision was received well by almost everyone, save for the extremist groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State.