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Posted 10 Sep 2001   For week ended September 07, 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church

Sent on Mormon-News: 07Sep01

By Kent Larsen

LDS Seminary Stuck; Higley High Off Limits

HIGLEY, ARIZONA -- Students attending LDS seminary classes on released time from Higley High School are stuck on busses until a new seminary building can be completed. The Church's play to lease space in the high school fell through Tuesday when County Attorney Rick Romley ruled that leasing a classroom to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints violated a state law against on-campus religious instruction during school hours.

Because the Church didn't have space for the 200 seminary students attending Highley High School, the Church sought to lease classroom space in an unused building on the Higley High campus from the school board a few weeks ago. On August 21st the board agreed, but, fearing that the agreement might violate the law or conflict with the constitutional separation of church and state, the board made the agreement contingent on the approval of the Maricopa County Attorney's ruling that it was legal.

But County Attorney Romley's ruling didn't come by the time classes started, leaving the 200 students without meeting space nearby. The Church then started bussing the students to a nearby charter school, and now to an LDS chapel. Now that Romley's ruling prohibited the lease, the Church will have to make the bussing arrangement permanent, at least until a local seminary building, now under construction, can be completed.

"It's over. [The church] asked us for a favor, and we said we'd consider it based on the Attorney's Office interpretation of the law. The opinion clearly states this wouldn't be legal," said board president Bruce Ericson. The school superintendent, Larry Likes, said he will inform the Church in writing of the decision. But parents and local officials are now worried about the safety of the students, who now must make an additional bus trip each day to attend seminary classes.


Higley schools advised against on-campus religion classes
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 5Sep01 D1
By Mel Melendez: The Arizona Republic

See also:

Classroom Lease to LDS Church on Hold


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