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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal over a South Carolina program that allows high school students to earn elective credit toward graduation through off-campus religious courses.
The high court on Tuesday denied the appeal from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
In July, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court decision in favor of the program, saying Spartanburg District 7 properly accommodated religion without establishing it and acted within the First Amendment. The 2007 policy allows students to earn up to two credits for off-campus religious courses offered by private educators.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation and the parents of two Spartanburg High students who did not take the course sued in 2009, arguing the policy endorses religion and entangles church and state.
The program was defended by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Deputy general counsel Erick Rassbach says the courts agreed that it was unfair to impose a double standard for students choosing religion for off-campus course work. The case involved only a handful of students.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)