ACRU

ACLU Says, “Dump Handicapped Children”

The facts for this article, but not the legal analysis, come from the Tucson Citizen of 15 November, 2006.

The newspaper filed this article saying that the ACLU of Arizona and People for the American Way had just filed suit to stop a state program in which disabled children received grants to allow them to attend private or parochial schools which offered services for their particular disabilities. The ACLU claimed that this amounted to “state funding for private or religious schools.”

The article says that a “key legal issue in the case will be whether the court finds that the beneficiaries are the children or the schools.” What the article does not say is that this issue has already been decided. The Supreme Court, in upholding several voucher systems generally, has determined that it is the students and their parents, not the schools, which are benefiting.

The same issue was present 60 years ago, when the G.I. Bill allowed millions of returning veterans of WW II to go to college. It was the veterans’ choice which accredited institution to attend, so it was not a constitutional problem if the veteran decided to attend Notre Dame, rather than Indiana University, for instance.

The case is even more compelling when the student is going to a specific school because it has a program addressed to his or her specific disability. This case is going nowhere. But it will be interesting to see whether the court awards attorneys fees and costs against the ACLU and People for the American Way for even filing this case.