Board of Education Votes to Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court in Elmbrook Church Graduation Ceremony Case
22 August 2012
On Tuesday, August 21 during its regular open session meeting, the School District of Elmbrook Board of Education voted 5-2 to appeal the 7th Circuit Court’s ruling in the case of Does vs. School District of Elmbrook to the United States Supreme Court.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on July 23 that holding public school graduation ceremonies in a church violates the First Amendment of the Constitution. This decision reversed the September 2011 ruling of a three-member panel of the 7th Circuit Court, as well as a previous Federal District Court ruling, which found that holding public school graduation ceremonies in a church did not violate the Establishment Clause.
“The Board of Education comprehensively considered all options, and the implications of each of those options, before proceeding further with this case,” said Board of Education President Tom Gehl.“The 7th Circuit Court’s ruling involves a constitutional issue of national significance. The Board is now seeking clarity from the U.S. Supreme Court as to whether or not public entities may use religious facilities for events in the future.”
The district’s costs to-date on this case have been $5,000, paid as its deductible under its insurance coverage. Several prominent firms and attorneys have offered to represent Elmbrook in its appeal on a pro-bono basis, thereby minimizing litigation costs for the district going forward. The motion approved by the Board limited the district’s out-of-pocket expenses for the appeal to a maximum of $15,000.
The School District of Elmbrook held graduation ceremonies at Elmbrook Church from 2000 to 2009 due to student preference and a lack of adequate space, handicapped accessible seating and air conditioning in the gyms at Brookfield Central and East High Schools. Since 2010, the district has held graduation ceremonies at its newly-built field house at Brookfield East and intends to continue this practice in the future.
For more information on this case, please visit www.elmbrookschools.org/elmbrook-school-district/elmbrook-church-graduation-ceremony-lawsuit.html.
- Retirement Celebration for Dr. Matt Gibson
- Employees Honored at District Recognition Night
- Hillside Celebration Event a Huge Success
- Elmbrook High Schools Ranked by Two National News Organizations
- Most Influential Educator Awards Announced
- Community Invited to Celebrate Hillside Elementary School May 24th