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Connecticut Jews Join Other Groups in Suit Against Aid to Parochial Schools

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The Connecticut Jewish Community Relations Council joined with the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, other state organizations and a number of individuals in an action in United States District Court here to challenge the constitutionality of a law enacted last year by the State Legislature to provide state financial aid to parochial and other private schools in the state for the teaching of secular subjects.

The AJ Congress, American Jewish Committee and Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith support the participation of the Jewish community relations body. Other plaintiffs include the Connecticut Council of Churches, Americans United For Separation of Church and State, and the Connecticut branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. One of the individual plaintiffs is William Manchester, author of the book, “Death of a President.”

The suit seeks an injunction to prevent disbursement of tax funds for church-related and other private schools and charges that the state law to provide for this is in conflict with the First Amendment and will contribute to contravention of the 14th Amendment. The state law appropriated $6 million for two years to go to aid the non-public schools of the state.

The Connecticut Jewish Ledger said that the plaintiffs will argue that the bulk of the funds to be expended under Public Act 791 will go to church-related schools and while it will be applied to the teaching of “secular subjects,” it will provide significant assistance to these schools for teaching of “sectarian” subjects by releasing funds now applied to other purposes.

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