Douglas County Religious Exclusion

Parents Sue over Limiting Families’ Options under New School Choice Program

The Institute for Justice (IJ) filed a federal civil rights action to vindicate the rights of three Douglas County families after the Board of Education for Douglas County, Colorado, adopted a School Choice Grant Program that barred religious schools from the program. Thus, a student could not use her grant to attend a religious school, even if her parents believed it was the best school to meet her educational needs. IJ believes that the exclusion of religious options from otherwise religiously neutral school choice programs violates the Free Exercise, Establishment, Equal Protection, and Free Speech Clauses of the United States Constitution, as well as the Due Process Clause, which guarantees the fundamental right of parents to control and direct the education and upbringing of their children. However, IJ was not able to prove its theory in court in this case because the Board of Education repealed the program in its entirety soon after its passage and IJ voluntarily dismissed this case.

Douglas County Religious Exclusion

Date Filed

April 19, 2016

Original Court

U.S. District Court of Colorado

Case Status



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