|USA||JUDGE CLAIMS SCHOOLS' PROMOTION OF WORRY DOLLS VIOLATES RELIGIOUS RITES|
A lawyer for a school district found to have violated the religious rights of Catholic families says the ruling will have a chilling effect on classroom curricula. US District Judge Charles Brieant said that the Bedford Central School District in upstate New York violated the religious rights of three families by holding an Earth Day liturgy, by encouraging the use of ``worry dolls'', and by having third-graders make paper images of a Hindu god.
The families alleged in a lawsuit that the district promoted Satanism, the occult and New Age religion. Brieant ruled against the families on a dozen or so other issues, including complaints about yoga lessons. He called the case ``agenda driven litigation.''
But the district's lawyer, Warren Richmond, said the ruling would have a negative effect on teachers as they develop their lessons.
``They're going to self-censor,'' Richmond said. ``This is going to have a chilling effect, not just here, but at schools around the country.''
|12:52pm 24/5/99 / AP|