Judge Gives City Churches Access to Public Schools

A federal judge says religious groups that rent space in city schools for worship services can continue doing so – at least temporarily.

The ruling Friday by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, for now, reverses an earlier decision by a higher appellate court that paved the way for the city to evict dozens of churches that meet regularly on Sundays.

Preska, in a 51-page ruling, found that schools' no-worship policy would cause "irreparable harm" to the Bronx Household of Faith, the plantiffs.

She granted an injunction that stops the city from evicting the groups.

City lawyers had argued that the church's use of the school ran afoul of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. The clause prohibits against governmental endorsement of religion.

“We believe that this court's decision is inconsistent with the recent Second Circuit order and that court's prior decision on the case's merits," said Jane Gordon, a senior attorney for the city.

Bronx Household of Faith v Bd of Ed PI