Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School Dist., 509 U.S. 1, 11 (1993)

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Cite as: 509 U. S. 1 (1993)

Opinion of the Court

of course, assuming that the school makes a profit on each student; that, without an IDEA interpreter, the child would have gone to school elsewhere; and that the school, then, would have been unable to fill that child's spot.

Respondent contends, however, that this case differs from Mueller and Witters, in that petitioners seek to have a public employee physically present in a sectarian school to assist in James' religious education. In light of this distinction, respondent argues that this case more closely resembles Meek v. Pittenger, 421 U. S. 349 (1975), and School Dist. of Grand Rapids v. Ball, 473 U. S. 373 (1985). In Meek, we struck down a statute that, inter alia, provided "massive aid" to private schools—more than 75% of which were church related—through a direct loan of teaching material and equipment. 421 U. S., at 364-365. The material and equipment covered by the statute included maps, charts, and tape recorders. Id., at 355. According to respondent, if the government could not place a tape recorder in a sectarian school in Meek, then it surely cannot place an interpreter in Salpointe. The statute in Meek also authorized state-paid personnel to furnish "auxiliary services"—which included remedial and accelerated instruction and guidance counseling—on the premises of religious schools. We determined that this part of the statute offended the First Amendment as well. Id., at 372. Ball similarly involved two public programs that provided services on private school premises; there, public employees taught classes to students in private school classrooms.9 473 U. S., at 375. We found that those programs likewise violated the Constitution, relying largely on Meek. 473 U. S., at 386-389. According to respondent, if the government could not provide educational services on the premises of sectarian schools in Meek and Ball, then it surely cannot provide James with an interpreter on the premises of Salpointe.

9 Forty of the forty-one private schools involved in Ball were pervasively sectarian. 473 U. S., at 384-385.


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