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Families appeal ruling on disability-related state funding for religious schools

“Parents should never have to compromise on how or where their child is educated just because they are religious,” said Maury Litwack of the Orthodox Union.

Court proceedings. Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.
Court proceedings. Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

Orthodox Jewish families have appealed to California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a district court ruling last week that state funds earmarked for children with disabilities cannot be made available to private religious schools.

The families, including Chaya and Yoni Loffman, are being aided by Becket and by the Teach Coalition, an Orthodox Union initiative.

“Our son has to overcome many obstacles to have his unique needs met in the classroom, and California is making it even harder for him because of our faith,” the Loffmans stated. “We pray that the court will stop this attack on children like ours and allow special education funding for every child with disabilities in California.”

Maury Litwack, who founded Teach Coalition, stated that the OU is “proud to fight alongside these parents, who have been forced to grapple with this unimaginable situation.”

“All children with disabilities, regardless of their religious beliefs, should have the same opportunity to receive a quality education,” he said. “Parents should never have to compromise on how or where their child is educated just because they are religious. That’s what we’re fighting for,” he added.

According to Eric Rassbach, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, “California is waging an indefensible and needless campaign against kids with disabilities just because they come from religious families. We have asked the Ninth Circuit to strike down this law and ensure that all kids with disabilities receive the care and support they need to thrive.”

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