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Massachusetts City Reverses Course, Will Allow Local Congregation to Open Private Religious School

April 27, 2022

News Release
For Immediate Release: 4.27.22
Contact: Lacey McNiel,
Direct: 972-941-4453

Massachusetts City Reverses Course, Will Allow Local Congregation to Open Private Religious School
City officials in Somerville, MA, grant church permission to open school after expressing hostility toward its religious beliefs regarding science, sexuality, mental health

Boston, MA—The Somerville (MA) school committee late Monday approved the application of Vida Real Church, a largely Hispanic immigrant church, to open a religious private school called the Real Life Learning Center (“RLLC”).  The church first sought permission to open the school in September 2021, but members of the school committee voiced opposition to the church’s religious beliefs.

“We are absolutely thrilled the RLLC will be able to open,” said Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute.  “It is good to see Somerville school officials finally treating Vida Real fairly and according to the law.”

“We are grateful that Somerville officials recognized that the government cannot ban a religious school because they disagree with its religious beliefs,” said Ryan Gardner, Counsel for First Liberty Institute.  “Because of the school board’s decision, more families will be able to provide the education they desire for their children.”

Late last month, First Liberty Institute and the Massachusetts Family Institute urged Somerville Superintendent Mary Skipper and the Somerville Public School Committee to allow RLLC to open, informing them that preventing the school from opening because of its religious beliefs was a violation of the law.


About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at or by calling 972-941-4453.

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