ACLU fights Pawtucket over atheletic field assignments

Providence, RI – The Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union squares off with the city of Pawtucket Monday in federal court over who should get priority when it comes to assigning city athletic fields. The ACLU contends the city has been unconstitutionally giving preferential treatment to parochial schools.

Maggi Rogers has been complaining for years about St. Raphael's Academy getting preferential treatment for an athletic field right across the street. It's a city-owned property and she says the junior high next to it has to stand in line behind the Catholic school to use it.

"I'm fairly confident that the city had for many decades sort of a cozy relationship with St. Raphael's Academy." Rogers says. "I was told when I first raised the issue that no one else thinks it's a problem."

When city officials didn't take her concerns seriously, Rogers enlisted the support of other parents and together they went to the American Civil Liberties Union which picked up the case. It will be heard today before federal Judge Mary Lisi. The ACLU says Pawtucket's pattern of giving Catholic schools priority in the assignment of athletic fields is unconstitutional.

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