Professor Esbeck Comments on Case about Racist Bullying at Texas School

A former student and his parents are suing a religious school in Texas for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress over failure to discipline other students for racist bullying. The school has moved to dismiss the lawsuit invoking “ecclesiastical abstention.” This principle holds that religious institutions are not subject to civil jurisdiction as to matters that concern their internal governance. In an article about the case in HuffPost, Professor Carl Esbeck says that “school bullying is ‘not a matter of internal ecclesiastical governance,’ like the excommunication of a church member. Adding ‘They argue that it is, but it’s . . . not even close.’”