NEW YORK (Nov. 4)
The American Jewish Congress charged today that two suburban school districts, both in Nassau County, were holding public school classes in religious institutions, and called on State Education Commissioner James E. Allen to take whatever action is necessary “to preserve the principle of separation of church and state.”
According to Murray A. Gordon, chairman of the AJC’s New York Metropolitan Council, the practice, in violation of constitutional guarantees of church-state separation, is being employed in Freeport and Roosevelt, two Long Island communities.
In Freeport, he said, the school board was using and paying for space in the First Presbyterian Church. In nearby Roosevelt, he charged, the school board had contracted for and was using space in the Jewish Center, a Conservative Synagogue. In Freeport, he charged, 200 pupils of the first and second grades were involved, as well as eight teachers. In Roosevelt, approximately 110 public school students were assigned to classes being held at the Jewish Center. In Freeport, he alleged, the local school board was paying rent to taling $14,400 for nine months. In Roosevelt, he stated, the school board had refused to release any information showing how much it was paying the Jewish Center for use of its space.