U.S. Supreme Court Decisions on Education: West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette


In a number of subsequent posts, I will be quoting from the syllabi of the key U.S. Supreme court decisions related to education, to highlight the ways in which the court interpreted the U.S. constitution on cases involving the stake of state in public education.

This particular court case is an  example of the struggle between the state boards of education introducing the mandatory saluting of the U.S. flags and people who do not want to obey these mandates because of the religious reasons. The nationalism and its symbols were being contested for precisely the same reasons for which they were by some Islamic parties of that time in India.

 

For more information on any of these decisions, the reader can visit the link to the archive given at the bottom of the quote.

1. State action against which the Fourteenth Amendment protects includes action by a state board of education. P. 637.

2. The action of a State in making it compulsory for children in the public schools to salute the flag and pledge allegiance — by extending the right arm, palm upward, and declaring, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands; one Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” — violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. P. 642.

So held as applied to children who were expelled for refusal to comply, and whose absence thereby became “unlawful,” subjecting them and their parents or guardians to punishment.

3. That those who refused compliance did so on religious grounds does not control the decision of this question, and it is unnecessary to inquire into the sincerity of their views. P. 634.

4. Under the Federal Constitution, compulsion as here employed is not a permissible means of achieving “national unity.” P. 640. [p625]

5. Minersville School Dist. v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586, overruled; Hamilton v. Regents, 293 U.S. 245, distinguished. Pp. 642, 632.

APPEAL from a decree of a District Court of three judges enjoining the enforcement of a regulation of the West Virginia State Board of Education requiring children in the public schools to salute the American flag.

via West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette.

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About Irfan

I am an independent researcher and blogger interested in everything under the sun, but more so in the philosophy and history of education and education reform generally, and specifically in the so-called post colonial contexts

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