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Running Head: ARTIFACT #6 1

Artifact #6

Religion and Public Schools

Michael Granado



Karen White, a kindergarten teacher, informed her parents and students that she could no longer

lead certain activities of participate in certain projects because they were religious in nature

according to her newly acquired affiliation with the Jehovahs Witnesses. She stated that because

of her religion she would not be putting up decorations for holidays such as for Christmas and

Halloween. She also would not be doing other activities such as sing Happy Birthday or recite

the Pledge of Allegiance. Parents protested and Bill Ward, the school principal, recommended

her dismissal based on her ineffectively meeting the needs of her students. Are the reasons for

Ms. Whites dismissal appropriate?


The Principal of this school, was absolutely correct in dismissing Ms. White. The

reasoning for her denying the holiday activities for her students are solely personal and religion

related. By denying the students the right to celebrate holidays is in fact promoting her religion

as a whole. The First Amendment with the establishment clause states that, Congress shall make

no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Ms.

White by removing all celebrations of holidays, of birthdays and the right to say the pledge of

allegiance totally prohibits the students from practicing holidays. Or by showing the good nature

of holidays. Coupled with the 14th Amendment which incorporates First Amendment guarantees

and safeguards them against state interference. Meaning that the school district is in their right by

removing the teacher for completely denying students the right to celebrate because her religion

prohibits her is establishing a basis for her students to adhere to a religion that the student may

not be part of believe in or practice.

To further the legitimacy of the decision to dismiss we look at Lemon v Kurtzman

(1971). The case establishes the Lemon test. Which is a three-part test which states is a) has a

primary secular purpose; b) its principal effect neither aids nor inhibits religion; and c)

government and religion are not excessively entangled. The test enabled the courts to rule against

and striking down a Pennsylvania law reimbursing religious schools for textbooks and teacher

salaries. By using this test Ms. Whites decision hit two of the three parts of the Lemon text. She

does not have a secular purpose in denying the students, it was solely based on her religion. And

as well as aiding her religion. She states that she Will not do these activities because it is

against her religion.


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