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CIVIL RIGHTS the oregon school Activities Association should have demonstrated whether a reasonable accommodation could have been made to allow Seventh Day Adventist students’ request not to play games in a basketball tournament on their Sabbath, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled on June 5. Montgomery v. Board of Education, No. A117678. The association, which organizes public and private school athletic events, originally had allowed the Portland Adventist Academy to forfeit a game in a boys’ championship tournament if it fell any time from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. The association then changed its policy, barring forfeitures, after complaints from other schools. When several academy students asked for personal exemptions, the association refused. The association’s policy was to prohibit a team or individual player from entering a tournament intending to withdraw from, or forfeit, a game before the tournament’s conclusion. The state Board of Education affirmed that decision, ruling that under the anti-discrimination statute, ORS 659.850, the association’s policy was religion-neutral and did not discriminate against the students. The appeals court, however, reversed. Noting that there is no suggestion that any proposed accommodation might cause a conflict with another participant’s religious obligations, the court held that the board should have required the association to show whether a reasonable accommodation was possible, either by switching game times or venues, allowing forfeits or another alternative.

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