When I read an article about discrimination against a student in a private religious school, I first thought the article was a hoax. I checked the site I usually reference to determine if information is real or fictitious. There was nothing about the story on the website, so I dug deeper into the mystery.
After several readers contacted me regarding my post, Discriminating Against Us, I decided to write this post stating what I believe happened. Please note I am not an attorney, I have not attended law school or sat for the bar, and I have not read all the factual information about the specific case mentioned in Discriminating Against Us or any of the similar cases.
Unbelievably, there are many cases in which students are discriminated at private religious schools. I was amazed by what I found with a simple Google search and a brief look on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website.
According to the ACLU, “because the state cannot make private schools that don’t receive federal funding subject to Title VI’s direct requirements, and because this is an eligibility requirement for state funds in a budget bill, and not a state statute, there is no way for any victim of discrimination to enforce Title VI’s requirements against schools that violate its anti-discrimination provisions. Furthermore, there is no formal mechanism by which schools that receive textbook monies are audited to ensure they are, in fact, complying with Title VI.”
Furthermore, the ACLU reveals, “if a private school receives direct federal funds (which not all do), they must follow Title VI (which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin), Title IX (prohibiting discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (prohibiting the placement of a student in segregated classes or facilities “solely by reason of her or his disability.”). If they do not receive direct federal funds, they are not required to follow these laws.”
Now I understand the judge’s ruling. The problem is not a bad ruling, it is a poorly written law that was the basis for the ruling. Although we would not expect a religious school to discriminate, apparently they do and the law supports discrimination.
The loophole is ridiculously easy to close by adding the following sentence:
All institutions, regardless of whether public or private, which provide products or services to anybody in the United States shall not discriminate according to the Federal definition of discrimination.
Whether or not an institution “discriminates” should not be based on whether or not it receives Federal funding.