You are on page 1of 6

Edu 210 Portfolio Artifact #6 1

Portfolio Artifact #6

Julio Z. Vargas

College of Southern Nevada


ARTIFACT #6 2

Abstract

This is the sixth installment to our EDU 210 Portfolio. As always, we were given a situation, that

is related to education, that is controversial and can be argued on both sides. In this instance, a

kindergarten teacher has recently affiliated herself with the faith of Jehovah’s Witness. Due to

her new faith, she was not able to celebrate holidays like Christmas, sing happy birthday, or even

recite the pledge of allegiance. This lead to the parents protesting to the principal who

recommended the teacher be dismissed. We have to find two court cases that support the

decision of the principal and we have to find two court cases that support the teacher’s side of

this situation. To finish this assignment, we have to decide which way the court should rule in

this case.
ARTIFACT #6 3

Portfolio Artifact #6

Wisconsin v. Yoder – Pro Teacher

The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment guarantees individuals the right to

worship as they choose. In this case, “the Supreme Court said the state could not interfere with

the free exercise of religion unless it could show a compelling state interest in doing so.”

(Underwood & Webb, 2006) Since Karen is just exercising the Free Exercise Clause by not

doing things against her religion, she should not be fired. She is not forcing her beliefs onto her

students, so she is not breaking their right to religious freedom as well. Mrs. Young is just cutting

the extra stuff out of her classroom. The students will still be getting their education, so the court

should rule in favor of Karen White.

Stone v. Graham – Pro Teacher

In this instance, the decoration of her classroom for Christmas and Halloween is religious to her.

Since those holidays do have religious backgrounds it is within her right not to decorate her

classroom. In Stone v. Graham, “The Supreme Court held that a statute requiring the display of

the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom was unconstitutional. The Court

focused on the intent of promoting a religious belief that had the probable effect of endorsing

religion.” (Underwood & Webb, 2006) Now, this relates to this situation because the holiday of

Christmas is a religious holiday. Decorating her classroom would promote the support of

Christmas, a religious holiday. Using this as her defense, the court should rule in Mrs. White’s

favor.

Epperson v. Arkansas – Pro Principal.

In this case, the Supreme Court struck down a law in Arkansas forbidding instruction in

evolution. “According to the court, “the state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all
ARTIFACT #6 4

religions from views distasteful to them.” (Underwood & Webb, 2006) Since Karen, a Jehovah’s

Witness, finds the activities in the situation as distasteful, the principal has a right to fire her. The

court would have no reason to rule in favor of Mrs. White because the activities are school

sponsored and not illegal. Her religion views them as distasteful so the court shouldn’t protect

her in this situation. The principal, using this as his defense has the right to dismiss her.

New York City Policy On Holiday Displays – Pro Principal.

This doesn’t pertain to one named court case, but there have been court cases to challenge

New York’s display policy. The New York policy states that it is the responsibility of the

educators to give our students understanding and respect for many beliefs and customs.

“Although the policy was challenged, the court upheld the policy, finding that its use was to

convey a message.” (Underwood & Webb, 2006) Since the absence of celebration of the

Christmas holiday would be against the policy, which has been defended by courts, the principal

should win this case. The court system has already defended this policy and the principal could

argue that Mrs. White isn’t allowing her students to honor and learn about the Christmas holiday.

His claim that she is failing to meet the needs of her students makes sense here.

Conclusion.

When I first read the situation at hand, I thought it would be an easy decision against the

teacher. However, after reading about the various court cases she did not break any laws because

she was not openly forcing her religion on her students. After reviewing all of the information, I

believe that the court will rule in favor of the principal. The best case for the principal is the last

one I used. His reason for dismissal is the failure to meet the needs of her students. The New

York Policy gives the students the experience of viewing different holidays and learning about

them. This has policy has been challenged and it has come out on top. The teacher should be
ARTIFACT #6 5

fired because although she is not directly reflecting her religion on her students, she is using her

religion as an excuse to leave these activities out of her classroom.


ARTIFACT #6 6

References

Underwood, J., & Webb, L. D. (2006). School Law For Teachers Concepts and Applications.

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc