The Union Free School District No.9 (also known as the Herricks School District), in New Hyde Park, New York, voted in favor of adopting this prayer into their public schools. Parents of ten pupils attending schools in this school district, sued the school board, saying that the prayer went against their religious views and the First Amendment to the Constitution, specifically the Establishment Clause. The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law, "respecting the establishment of religion." To say that the Regent's prayer is unconstitutional is an oxymoron in itself, for this
In writing the majority opinion, Chief Justice Roberts took note that the Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) ruling decided that students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate." However, the Chief Justice also relied upon the precedent set forth in Bethel v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675, 682 (1986) which explained how "the constitutional rights of students at public school are not automatically, coextensive with the rights of adults." Additionally, the rights of students are applied "in light of the special characteristics of the school environment," according to the U.S. Supreme Court in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 266 (1988). The special circumstances in Morse v. Frederick were first that the school has a policy that specifically forbids advocating illegal drug use due to the risks it imposes on other students, and second that principal Morse was forced to decide in the moment whether or not she should act.
In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Santa Fe Independent School District V. Doe (SFISD V. Doe) case, Chief Justice Rehnquist commented, “It [the ruling] bristles with hostility to all things religious in public life” (“United”). Separating religion and state has always been a matter of concern for the United States, as shown by the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of our constitution. Although there have been many cases revolving around the relationship between the church and the state, SFISD V. Doe is among the most notable. By examining the background, reflecting on the decision, and analyzing the impact of the SFISD V. Doe case,
The Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe stated that student-led/ student-initiated prayer at high school football games violated the establishment clause of the first amendment. The Baptist religion was promoted in the Santa Fe Independent School District in Texas, which is located between Galveston and Houston. A teacher handed out flyers for a “revival meeting” which involved reading the bible and other Catholic things. They offered prayer up to God at graduations, assemblies, and football games. One mormon student and mother filed suit against the school district. Also, one catholic student and mother filed suit against the school district. Their lawsuit involved that the Establishment Clause was violated many times. They did not
In the Emerson v. Board of Education Case New Jersey passed a law authorizing local school boards to provide transportation of children to and from school. The Board of Education of Ewing Township, following this law, authorized reimbursement to parents of money spent by their children on public buses. However, Arch Everson, a resident and taxpayer in the Ewing Township school district, learned that a reimbursement was going to parents who sent their children to Catholic schools as well. He then claimed that this money supported religion and violated the establishment clause of the first amendment. Ultimately, the court ruled that the new law was not in violation of the establishment clause.
In summarizing the salient points of the Supreme Court case Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, it had to do with the respondent’s father who sued candidates, including a school region, affirming that the school locale's approach requiring the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at his little girl's school damaged the First Amendment. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that the father had standing and decided for the father. Certiorari was conceded to audit the standing and First Amendment issues.
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier was a lost fight for the First Amendment rights in schools. When a couple of school journalists’ articles were blocked by the principal of Hazelwood East High School, the students decided that they needed to take their case to the courts. One of the articles was a story about
The appeals court decision came almost 40 years to the day after the Supreme Court decision in Engel v. Vitale. In that case, the court ruled it unconstitutional for public schools to allow prayer, even though the prayer was non-denominational and students were allowed abstain from the exercise. When
Case number 2: McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948), this was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with separation of church and state. This case was argued at the United States Supreme Court to the power of a state to use tax money to support public schools to provide religious instruction.
Abington School District v. Schempp is a 1963 Supreme Court Case that challenged religious prayer and teachings in Pennsylvania public schools. The Pennsylvania law made it a requirement for schools in all districts to read from the Bible (at least 10 verses) every day before class began. There was also a clause included in the state action that allowed for any child to be excused from the reading with specific permission from their parent or guardian. The question that this case asks is if it is unconstitutional for public schools to mandate children to partake in Bible teachings and practices before classes began. The reason this case was heard in front of the Supreme court is because the Abington School District wanted to reverse an earlier decision by a district court. The district court decided in favor of the Schempp family and found that forced prayer in public schools, even with an opt out clause, still violates the Constitution under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Once the case was heard in front of the United States Supreme Court, eight out of the nine justices agreed with the previous district court’s ruling and found that prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.
The prayer was, “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and beg Thy blessings upon us, our teachers, and our country” (Oyez 1). The state of New York approved the prayer, and the prayer was nondenominational. Children whose parents did not want them to recite the prayer did not have to participate, and were excused; reciting the prayer was voluntary. Therefore, the prayer was not mandatory and was supposed to serve as a purpose of moral education only for those who wanted to acknowledge God as the source of all blessings. However, New York Lawyers argued that the prayer offended the Establishment Clause, suggesting that the state of New York was officially approving a religion by approving the prayer. This action eventually led to the Supreme Court ruling the prayer as unconstitutional. With the success of ruling Engel v. Vitale unconstitutional, the case set a precedent for many more court cases in which the Supreme Court used the Establishment Clause as a jurisdiction for removing religious practices in public schools.
U.S. Supreme Court Case number three was Engel vs. Vitale 370 U.S. 421 1962. The petitioners were the parents of ten pupils in the New York public school district. The parents argued that the prayer mandated by the school was contrary to the beliefs, religions, or religious practices of both themselves and their children. These parents challenged the constitutionality of both the state law authorizing the School District to direct the use of prayer in public schools, and the School District ordering the citation of this prayer by the students.
Citation: Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier. United States Court of Appeals, Eight Circuit, 1986 795 F2.d 1368, cert. granted, Supreme Court of the United States, Eighth Circuit, 484 U.S. 260 (1988)
The issue of school prayer is not one of religious freedom, as it is already legal for children to pray in school, either individually or in groups. Since the Engel decision in 1962, religious advocates have been assailing the Supreme Court for "taking God out of the classroom." In an effort to reverse this trend, conservative religious groups have been fighting for the passage of a school prayer amendment to gain greater leeway for religious activities in schools.