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Waterbury School Board Ignores Jews’ Protest at Religion in Public Schools

The protest of Waterbury Jews against the introduction of religious training during school hours in the public schools of this city during the coming school year will be ignored by the local board of education. The protest, which was formally presented by the Waterbury Hebrew Institute, was received by the board at its meeting three weeks ago, and it was generally expected that some answer would be made at the meeting of the board this week.

“We are not going to answer it”, declared Dr. H. A. Dochelli, chairman of the committee on rules of the board of education. “We are going to ignore it. The matter has been settled with the approval of the plan voted by the board some time ago. There will be religious education next year for all school children whose parents wish it”.

It is believed that as a result of the statement of Dr. Dochelli a mass meeting of protest, such as was planned several weeks ago but which was held off until the answer of the board of education became known, will soon be held here. While the idea of a mass meeting of protest has been sponsored by many Jewish leaders of Waterbury, it is not planned to limit it to Jews alone, as many Christians here are also opposed to the plan for religious education during school hours, and consequently the Jewish leaders will invite other groups to join them in the protest.

In its letter to the board of education three weeks ago, the Hebrew Institute had declared that the use of public school time for secretarian instruction is unconstitutional and most inadvisable. The problem of religious instruction, it declared, can best be solved by providing it after school hours. It held that to give up one school hour a week, as the adopted plan calls for, will introduce into the public schools the ever-dangerous question of secretarian religious differences, which is now absent from the schools.

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