Families File Suit Over School Tuition Discrimination

Three families in Maine have filed suit in U.S. District Court because of a state law that denies tuition assistance to parents who wish to send their children to religious schools.

Maine’s “tuitioning” law states that if a family lives in an area that is too small to maintain a secondary school, the local school district may pay tuition for each secondary student at the public or private school of the family’s choice—but only if the school is not a religious school.

Even fully accredited religious schools are ineligible for tuitioning purposes simply because of their religious nature.

“Maine offers school choice to everyone except those who choose religious schools,” said Lea Patterson, associate counsel with First Liberty Institute, a firm that specializes in religious freedom cases nationwide. “Under the U.S. Constitution, that’s religious discrimination, and we intend to restore our clients’ religious liberty.”