Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County in the case of Zachary Calandra, a minor, by David Calandra, his guardian v. State College Area School District and State College Area School Board, No. 84-935.
Robert C. Rayman, for appellants.
John R. Miller, Jr., Miller, Kistler & Campbell, Inc., for appellees.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Rogers, Craig, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Palladino. Dissenting Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Colins joins in this dissent.
[ 99 Pa. Commw. Page 224]
Zachary Calandra and his guardian, David Calandra, (Appellants) appeal from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County (trial court) which sustained a preliminary objection in the nature of a demurrer filed by the State College Area School District (District). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
Appellants filed a complaint in trespass, alleging that Zachary had applied to participate in the District's interscholastic baseball program. The District's School Board requires any student who wishes to participate in interscholastic sports to receive a tetanus immunization. Zachary's religious and philosophical beliefs prohibit him from receiving immunizations. When Zachary appeared for a scheduled baseball tryout, he was not permitted to participate because he was not immunized.
Appellants' complaint asserted that the District's immunization requirement violates Zachary's right to free exercise of his religion "in that it discriminates against individuals on the basis of their religious beliefs, to wit; an opposition, an immunization. (sic)" Appellants requested: 1) that the immunization requirement be declared unconstitutional and violative of the first and
[ 99 Pa. Commw. Page 225]
fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution; 2) that the District be enjoined from enforcing the immunization requirement against Zachary; 3) that Zachary be awarded compensatory and punitive damages; and 4) that attorney's fees and costs be awarded to Appellants.
The District filed a preliminary objection in the nature of a demurrer, and alleged that the complaint failed to set forth a cause of action, because participation in interscholastic sports is only a privilege and is not a constitutionally protected interest.*fn1
The trial court sustained the District's demurrer, concluding that the District's tetanus immunization requirement does not place an undue infringement upon Zachary's right to practice his religious beliefs, because the District has a compelling ...