LANCASTER, Pa. - Phoenix Academy, in the School District of Lancaster, offers a remedial program.
"We designed the program for students, refugee and non refugee, by the way, that were overage and under credited," said Damaris Rau, Superintendent.
Earlier this year, on behalf on six refugees ages 17-21, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Education Law Center and other Counsel filed a lawsuit claiming the district refused to allow older immigrants to go to McCaskey High School, the normal public high school. A judge sided with the ACLU and ordered the students be allowed to attend McCaskey. The district abided by the judge's orders and gave all refugees the option to go to McCaskey. They also filed an appeal.
"We deeply believe that that courts should not tell school districts where to place students. We feel that that is an educational decision," said Rau.
There has not be a ruling on the appeal. In the meantime, the ACLU has demanded the district pay the nearly $2 million dollar attorney fee in the refugee case. The ACLU says the district should not call the bill outrageous when the a federal judge sided with them.
"Of course it is a concern, but I think our greater concern is that and we believe we will win this case, because we believe that we need to have the freedom to make decisions about student placement, that it should not be an ACLU decision," said Rau.
The decision involving the six refugees and the appeal is a preliminary injunction. The trial will take place in July of 2017.