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Suit Dismissed Against Ortho L.I. School Board

Secular parents said board was running district to benefit yeshiva students

Allison Hoffman
August 26, 2009

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by secular parents in Lawrence, New York, one of Long Island’s Five Towns, which claimed that their Orthodox-dominated school board had decided to close the district’s nicest elementary school in hopes of selling or leasing it to a yeshiva. (Six of the seven elected school board members send their own children to yeshivas, not public school.) U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert ruled it would be unconstitutional to overturn the decision of a duly elected board, however unintuitive the logic of having people who don’t use public schools govern them: “To deny Orthodox Jews these rights simply because, as plaintiffs allege, Orthodox Jews have different opinions from Lawrence’s other residents would be to discriminate against Orthodox Jews because they are Orthodox Jews.” But fear not, the feud’s not over: Plaintiff Andrew Levey told Newsday that he and his fellow litigants are “exploring our options.”

Allison Hoffman is a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her Twitter feed is @allisont_dc.

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