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School Board Defies State Ban on Interfaith Graduation Service; Case May Go to Court

The school board of the Somers Central School last night decided to hold an interfaith baccalureate service June 18 despite a ruling to the contrary by Acting State Commissioner of Education Lewis A. Wilson. A rabbi and a Protestant minister are scheduled to participate in the exercises which will be held on the school grounds.

The board’s latest action is a continuation of its running fight with a Iocal Catholic clergyman, Rev. Edward V. Dargin, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Croton Falls, who opposed the interfaith services on the gounds that Catholic Church canon law forbids Catholics from participating in the religious services with non-Catholics.

When the school board originally refused to heed his protest, Rev. Dargin appealed to the state education department. Commissioner Wilson told the school board that while it was not uncommon for such services to be held they should not be held in the school in the face of a protest. The board’s defiance of the Commissioner’s advisory ruling may eventually throw the case into the courts.