Kenilworth, N.J. — The archbishop of Newark says it was a “very difficult decision” not to allow two sisters to return to their Catholic school in New Jersey after a dispute over one of them wanting to play on the boys basketball team.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin on Thursday testified he decided not to allow 13-year-old Sydney Phillips and her younger sister, Kaitlyn, to re-enroll because their parents’ behavior was not in the best interest of St. Theresa School in Kenilworth.

The parents are seeking a court order to allow the girls to return in the fall.

A different judge had denied the family’s attempt to get Sydney on the boys team after the girls team was canceled.

Lawyers for the archdiocese and for the family have accused each party of bullying and harassment.

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