A lawyer representing two Fairfax County high school seniors, arguing that a "degradation of a particular religion" is at stake, today asked the Virginia Supreme Court to order school officials to reschedule graduation ceremonies away from the Jewish sabbath. Attorney Michael Hausfeld told a three-judge panel the effect of the Fairfax school board's decision was the same as if the board "had formulated a regulation stating that no jews shall attend the graduation." A state judge in Fairfax County last month turned down a request by the students, Lynn and Susan Stein, that graduation cermonies at W.T. Woodson High, planned for Saturday, June 7,berescheduled to a "religiously neutral time."
The Steins, who are twin sisters andhonor students at Woodson, claim the sabbath date violates their constitutional rights and have said they cannot attend comencement unless it is rescheduled.
The high court took the appeal under advisement today. If the court agrees to hear the case, a hearing couldbe scheduled for next week when the full court will be in session. The three-judge panel said today it would act"as quickly as possible" in reaching a decision.
Under questioning, Hausfeld told thepanel today that no evidence existed showing that Fairfax school officals are "intentionally bigoted," but argued that the school board had been "insensitive" in scheduling the graduation.