The case has been going on for seven years, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees, but the Indiana Supreme Court now has ruled that a small homeschool group cannot be penalized by the state because of one member family’s complaint over a chicken dinner at a social event.
“The [Indiana Civil Rights] Commission lacked authority to take any action other than the dismissal of these claims arising from an inter-group squabble over the type of meal to be served to a member family’s child at an ‘All Souls’ Day Masquerade Ball’ dinner-dance social event – an incident not related to education and thus not within the commission’s prerequisite statutory authority,” said the court’s majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Brent E. Dickson.
“We vacate the commission’s final order and remand this cause with instructions to grant the motion to dismiss filed by [the homeschoolers] as to both claims.”
The case was fought on behalf of the homeschoolers’ group, Fishers Adolescent Catholic Enrichment Society, by the Thomas More Society.
Thomas More Vice President Peter Breen said: “In trying to control the affairs of a small religious homeschool group, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission far overstepped its authority. Unfortunately, it took years of effort and hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney time in order to stop this outrageous government overreach. We’re glad that the Indiana Supreme Court has now ordered the commission to stop its harassment and dismiss this case.”
The legal team said the “precipitating event took place in 2008, when a Catholic Enrichment Society parent requested a steak dinner” instead of a chicken dinner for her daughter, who planned to attend a dinner-dance at a contracted venue.
The volunteer who organized the event said the parent, Elizabeth Bridgewater, should instead bring a meal for her child, Alyssa, then 15, who reportedly had allergy issues. But the mother arranged separately with the venue for the steak dinner.
Written by BOB UNRUH
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