School District Sued Over "Release Time" for Religious Class

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Public school officials in Huntington,
Indiana, deny that a religious education program offered during the
school day illegally advances religion.

A lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana asks a federal judge to shut down the program and bar the school district from providing it with utilities or any other support.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a boy whose elementary school
offers third- and fourth-graders a voluntary "release time" program for religious instruction.

School officials argue that the program neither advances nor inhibits religion.

Similar programs at elementary schools have been protected by a 1952 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed students to receive religious education during school hours but not on school property.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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