US Supreme Court won't hear appeal over Spartanburg District 7 religious classes
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.
By Lynne P. Shackleford
The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal on released time for religious education, effectively ending a three-year legal battle between Spartanburg School District 7 and parents and a former student of the district.
Two District 7 parents, Robert Moss and Ellen Tillett, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation brought the lawsuit after the district allowed students to receive academic credit for off-campus religious instruction through Spartanburg County Bible Education in School Time (SCBEST). Melissa Moss, Robert Moss's daughter, joined the suit as a plaintiff after graduating high school.
The plaintiffs claimed the district was endorsing religion, which is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The district, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and local counsel, Lyles, Darr and Clark, has maintained that its policy was based on state law that allows elective credits for off-campus religious time instruction as long as students are evaluated using secular criteria.