LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A judge has ruled that a teen can attend a Louisville Catholic high school, despite objections by his atheist father.
Oldham County family court Judge Tim Feeley said in a ruling published Monday that 14-year-old Michael Ryan can attend St. Xavier High School because that's where he wants to go.
His divorced parents disagreed over whether their son should go to the religious school, which his mother Susan Bisig wanted.
Since Michael had attended a Catholic school since kindergarten, the transition to St. Xavier would be easier, she said.
His father, David Ryan, argued in a lawsuit that the state's
Constitution says no one can be "compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed."
But The Courier-Journal of Louisville reported on its Web site that the judge was persuaded that it was in the teenager's best interest to attend St. Xavier.
"The court cannot compel David Ryan to send his child to a religious school" and "likewise this court cannot prohibit Susan Bisig from sending her child to a religious school," Feeley wrote in an eight-page ruling. "The clear best interest of this child is supported by the mother's position."
Feeley also amended the parents' joint custody agreement to give
Bisig "sole custody of Michael as it relates to educational decision-making."
David Ryan's attorney Edwin Kagin questioned the court's decision to give a parent sole custody on a single issue.
"Should the father have sole custody to decide what the child has for breakfast?" he asked. "You just don't dice it up that way."
Other schools Michael Ryan considered attending were Louisville
Kentucky Country Day, South Oldham High School, Louisville DuPont
Manual High School and Louisville Trinity High School.
David Ryan will probably appeal the ruling, Kagin said.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)