Earlier this week, we promised to highlight a few issues where we expect to see the biggest fights in state legislatures this year. Just as in years past, we know we will fight bills dealing with religion in public schools.
An advocacy group dedicated to improving the educational quality at ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools recently criticized New York City’s oversight of these institutions.
An analysis by Young Advocates for Fair Education (YAFFED) found yeshiva students are exposed mostly to intense religious instruction and often are deficient in math, English, science and social studies. Although they are private schools, the yeshivas receive taxpayer funding for meals, textbooks and tutoring for low-income children and are required to provide an appropriate education in core secular subjects.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has introduced a revised version of the Child Victims Act that would remove the statute of limitations on prosecution of abusers in public and private institutions around the state.
Cuomo’s proposal would allow adults who were abused as children to file civil lawsuits up to 50 years after the attacks occurred, and would allow victims who couldn’t bring their cases to court due to current statute-of-limitations laws to have a one-year window to do so.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) in late December changed its uniform policy to allow Sikh police officers to wear turbans while on duty.
The revised policy permits a religious accommodation of turbans with a hat shield attached in place of the typical hat worn by police officers, according to The New York Times.
A Democrat running for state office in New York said if elected, he’ll work to ensure that photos of same-sex couples do not appear in public school textbooks.
S.J. Jung is challenging incumbent state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens) for her seat. Stavisky, who defeated Jung back in 2014, voted to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. It seems that move didn’t sit well with Jung, who is hoping to rally anti-gay voters to his cause.
A few days ago, I receive the July-August issue of Catalyst, the newsletter of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
If you’re not familiar with the Catholic League, it’s a right-wing outfit that exists mainly to scream loudly anytime anyone anywhere dares to criticize the clerical leaders in the Catholic Church or the political goals of the bishops. The group, based in New York City, is run by William Donohue, a man who, when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse of minors by priests, is either deliberately provocative or remarkably tone deaf.
The New York Senate failed to vote on a bill that would have expanded the statute of limitations for reporting child sexual abuse.
The Child Victims Act would have eliminated the criminal statute of limitations for several types of sex crimes against children and allowed victims a one-year window during which they could pursue civil suits against perpetrators.
State senators voted 30-29 on May 23 to prevent the bill from coming to a vote.
A public swimming pool in New York City has reinstated sex-segregated swimming hours at the request of the local Hasidic Jewish community.
The pool, located on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, had hosted sex-segregated hours for two decades until, according to the Forward, administrators had intended to suspend the practice after the New York City Commission on Human Rights warned that it violated city law.
Editor’s Note: Louis Grumet is former executive director of the New York State School Boards Association. In 1994, Grumet served as plaintiff in an important church-state case called Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Grumet and his co-author, John Caher, have just released a book about the legal challenge titled The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel: The Rise Of A Village Theocracy And The Battle To Defend The Separation Of Church And State (Chicago Review Press).
The state of New York has foreclosed on a virulently anti-LGBT church in New York City. DNAInfo New York reports that Atlah Worldwide Church and its pastor, the Rev. James Manning, owe $194,000 for unpaid water bills.