Religion and Public Education

  • Gitlow v. New York

    The fundamental concept of "liberty" embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the guarantees of the First Amendment and safeguards them against state interference.
  • West Virginia v. Barnette

    The Supreme Court made it clear that students may not be required to salute the flag. IF state law requires a daily flag salute, however, teachers must make some provision that it will take place, whether led by a class officer, another teacher, or a cooperating parent.
  • Everson v. Board of Education

    This was the first major establishment clause decision, wherein the court held that the government cannot aid any one religion or even all religions, but instead must be neutral toward religion.
  • McCollum v. Board of Education

    Histrorically, schools have often set aside time in school, during school hours for religious instruction. This practice was declared unconstitutional leading to "release time."
  • Religion, Excused Absence

    Both teachers and students have a right to be excused from school attendance to observe religious holidays.
  • Engle v. Vitale

    Supreme Court declared the school-sponsored prayer and/or Bible reading violated the establishmentclause.
  • First publicly supported schools were establised due to religion

    When Massachussetts legislature enacted the famous "old Deluder Satan" the first publicly supported schools were established. A person could achieve salvation and delude Satan only by being able to read the Bible.
  • Epperson v. Arkansas

    Court struck down an Arkansas antievolution statute under the establishment clause, holding that evolution theory is a science and a state cannot restrict such teaching in favor of religious preference.
  • Wall of Seperation

    Supreme Court announced a three-part test to evaluate establishment clause claims in Lemon v. Kurtzman.
  • Wisconsin v. Yoder

    The best known case involving a free exercise claim involved the Amish where, in Wisconsin v. Yoder, the court exempted the children from school attendance after successful completion of eighth grade. Schools cannot sponsor religion programs, students may form prayer groups and meet during noninstructional times to pray or read the Bible or other religious works.
  • May Students Pray Silently in School

    The Supreme Court struck down an Alabama law that inserted the phrase "or voluntary prayer" into an existing statute that authorized a period of silent meditation
  • Stone v. Graham

    The supreme Court declared a Kentucky law unconstitutional that required the posting of the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms.
  • Mozert v. Hawkins County Board of Education

    Students may secure exemption on religious grounds from sex education, drug education, coeducational physical education, dancing, and officers' training programs.
  • Lee v. Weisman

    Rhode Island school district was declared unconstitutional by the Courth as a violation of the establishment clause.
  • Doe v. Madison School District

    Idaho School District selected student speakers by class standing and allowed them to recite "an address, poem, reading, song, musical presentation, prayer, or any other pronouncement of their choosing.