Districts News Roundup

September 09, 1992 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A federal law barring age discrimination in employment does not apply to teachers at religious schools, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Arthur D. Spatt of Uniondale, N.Y., ruled that applying the Age Discrimination in Employment Act to a teacher at a Roman Catholic high school would conflict with the First Amendment’s religion clauses.

Guy DeMarco, a 49-year-old mathematics teacher at Holy Cross High School in a suburb of New York City, sued the school after his teaching contract was not renewed. He alleged that the school was discriminating against him based on his age, in violation of the ADEA.

But applying the law to a religious institution such as Holy Cross “would give rise to serious constitutional questions and excessive church-state entanglements,’' Judge Spatt wrote in his July 17 opinion.

He noted that other federal courts have split over the question of whether the ADEA applies to religious institutions, but the judge found no Congressional intent to apply the law to churches or religious schools.

Judge Spatt said that requiring officials of a religious school to provide their reasoning for releasing an older employee “may subject its religious philosophy to governmental scrutiny.’'

A federal judge in Texas has struck down a curfew on teenagers that was instituted last year by the Dallas City Council.

Judge Jerry Buchmeyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas found that the law violated both the Texas Constitution’s and the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of freedom of speech and association, among other protections, said Joe Cook, northern regional director of the A.C.L.U. of Texas.

The Aug. 10 ruling was the first since the ACLU filed suit against the ordinance in July 1991.

Approved by the council in June of that year, the Dallas curfew had never been enforced, Mr. Cook said, because of the pending lawsuit.

The curfew, prompted by a desire to curb crime, had barred teenagers under age 17 from the streets between 11 P.M. and 6 A.M. weekdays and from midnight to 6 A.M. on weekends.

“I think the message [the ruling] sends is that young people have rights and parents have rights that can only be taken away if there are compelling state interests,’' Mr. Cook said.

Apparently responding to the court ruling on the Dallas curfew, the Fort Worth City Council voted 7 to 2 on Aug. 25 to cancel its own curfew on teenagers, which had been put in place in March, Mr. Cook said.

The New York City Board of Education has angered many volunteer groups that provide AIDS-prevention sessions in the city’s schools by adopting a policy requiring them to agree in writing to stress abstinence over other methods of preventing the spread of the disease.

The board, which approved the new policy in principle in May, finalized the requirement on a 4-to-1 vote in what was described as a hastily called session late last month.

Schools Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez, who opposes the requirement and favors a more explicit AIDS curriculum, was on vacation at the time, as were two board members known to oppose the pledge.

Mr. Fernandez dubbed the new requirement a “loyalty oath.’'

The resolution adopted in May required Mr. Fernandez to draft such an oath, but four board members who opposed the chancellor’s plans to implement an explicit AIDS-related curriculum were unhappy with his initial efforts.

Ninfa Segarra, a board member from the Bronx who voted in favor of the new oath, said that it simply brings the board’s policies into line with state regulations.

More than 40 of the roughly 200 groups that provide AIDS-education volunteers in the schools have already refused to sign the pledge, and others are expected to follow suit, said Terry Lewis, a spokeswoman for the AIDS and Adolescent Network, an umbrella organization of community groups.

Meanwhile, the city’s health commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, acting with the support of Mayor David N. Dinkins, denounced the pledge requirement as “abhorrent.’'

A version of this article appeared in the September 09, 1992 edition of Education Week as Districts News Roundup


English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Education Civil Rights Groups Sue Tennessee Over Law Against Transgender Student Athletes
The state law bars transgender athletes from playing public high school or middle school sports aligned with their gender identity.
3 min read
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Mark Humphrey/AP