Religion in School

  • First schools

    The first publicly supported schools in America were established due to religious motives when the Massachusetts legislature enacted the famous "old Deluder Satan" Act.
  • The First Amendment is enacted

    It specifies that "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."
  • West Virginia vs. Barnett

    Students may not be required the salute the flag.
  • Emerson vs. Board of Education

  • McCollum vs. Board of Education

    Setting aside time in school, during school hours for religious instruction was declared unconstitutional.
  • Zorach vs. Clausen

    Religious education instruction can take place off school grounds.
  • Engle vs. Vitale

    The Supreme Court declared that school-sponsored prayer and/or Bible reading violated the establishment clause.
  • Epperson vs. Arkansas

    The U.S. Supreme Court said that evolution theory is a science and a state cannot restrict such teaching in favor of a religious preference.
  • Lemon vs. Kurtzman

    A three-part test was formed to evaluate clause claims. It states that the government action or policy must:
    1) have a secular purpose
    2) have a primary effect that neighter advances nor impedes religion
    3) avoid excessive entanglement of government with religion
  • Wisconsin vs. Yoder

    The best-known case involving a free exercise claim involved the Amish. The Court exempted the children from school attendance after successful completion of eighth grade.
  • Stone vs. Graham

    The Supreme Court declared a Kentucky law unconstitutional that required the posting of the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms.
  • Wallace vs. Jaffee

    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.
  • Mozert vs. Hawkins County Board of Education

    The appeals courts found no burden on religious beliefs in reading a basal reading series since they were not required to perform religious exercises or profess belief.
  • Lee vs. Weisman

    The Court declared it unconstitutional for principals to invite members of clergy to deliver invocations and benedictions at graduation ceremonies.
  • Doe vs. Madison School District

    Allowed students to recite "an address, poem, reading, song, musical presentation, prayer, or any other pronouncement of their choosing" at graduation ceremonies.
    (vacated and remanded en banc because the student had graduated)
  • Altman vs. Bedford Cent. School District

    A requirement that students contruct images of a Hindu deity violated the First Amendment, and the making of worry dolls was prohibited because it indicated a preference for superstition over religion in violation of the establishment clause.
  • Lassonde vs. Pleasanton Unified School District

    If public schools are no way involved with renting space to conduct baccalaureate graduation ceremonies that include prayers.
  • Newdow vs. United States

    A case that was dismissed on procedural grounds where a father complained that the Plege of Allegiance said "under God."