Md. District Does Not Have To Pay For Religious Schooling

A federal appeals court has ruled that a Maryland public school district is not required to fund a student’s religious education.

In the case, Leiman v. Smith, Akiva and Shani Leiman, the parents of a special-needs student, admitted that the public school system in Montgomery County could provide a suitable education for their child but argued that they were nevertheless entitled to tuition reimbursement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to send their child to a Jewish school.

Americans United and allies filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, arguing that the First Amendment does not require government to provide religious instruction for any student.

AU applauded the Aug. 14 ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed prior decisions made by an administrative-law judge and a federal district court.

“The Montgomery County public schools are willing and able to provide an appropriate education for the Leimans’ son,” Richard B. Katskee, Americans United’s legal director, said in a statement following the ruling. “The family is free to seek private religious instruction for their child, but they’re not entitled to have taxpayers cover the cost.”