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Yessica Velasquez

Edu 210-1001
October 15, 2018

Chapter 11. Assignment

Portfolio #6

A kindergarten teacher named Karen White informed her parents that she will not be

participating in certain activities. She is newly affiliated herself with the practice of Jehovah’s

Witnesses. She will not be participating in celebrating any holiday activities in her classroom.

She could also not sing “Happy Birthday” or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Parents were not

happy and the Principal of the school recommended her dismissal based on ineffectively meeting

the needs of her students.

West Virgina State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) will be the first case in the favor

of Karen White being wrongfully dismissed due to her religious belief. This case of West Virgina

State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) is a law passed in Virgina allowing students to say

the Pledge of Allegiance and requiring students to salute the flag. Any Jehovah Witness that is a

student were being expelled from the school and there parents were being fiend for not

participating in saying the pledge. The parents filed a suit against the school district on

harassment of their religious beliefs. The supreme court ruled in favor of the students because

their Constitutional rights were being harassed and violated. The first constitutional right that

was violated was the First Amendment of Free of religion and the Fourteenth Amendment

requirement of due process. Such similarities such as Karens white case, her First Amendment

rights of freedom of religion was violated.

Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) Is case number two that is in favor of Karen White’s

case. The case of Engel v. Vitale. 370 U.S. 421 (1962) is a case that a New York State public

school required the opening of each day with the Pledge of Allegiance and a nondenominational

prayer in which the student recognized their dependence upon god. The law allowed students to

absent themselves from this activity if they found it objectionable. A parent sued the school on

behave of his child, arguing that the law violated the Establishment Clause of the First

Amendment as made to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The majority state that the provision of allowing students to absent themselves from this activity

did not make the law constitutional because the purpose of the First Amendment was to prevent

government interference with religion. This connects with Karen White case of being dismissed

was violating her Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Minersville School District v. Gobitis (1940) is a court case that is on the apposing side of

Karen Whites case. In Pennsylvania a ten year old boy named Billy Gobitis refused to salute to

the flag because it was have gone against his religious beliefs. Billy argued that his First

amendment rights to free speech and religious exercise mean that the government could not force

him to participate in the daily ceremony. The ruling that the government could require respect for

the flag as a key symbol of national unity and a means of preserving national security.The court

held that parents, not schools, are children primary religious instructors and that the pledge

requirement wouldn’t interfere with Billy’s religious up bringing. In the case of Karen White

rights to require respect for the flag is for national security.

Doe v. Action Boxborough regional school district (2014) Is the second court case that is in

the apposing side of Karen White’s court case. On March 11, 2010, from Dr. Newdow in

California was rebuffed by the federal appeals court for the 9th circuit which held “that the

Pledge of Allegiance does not violate the Establish,Establishment clause because Congress

ostensible and predominate purpose was to inspire patriotism”. In the case of Doe vs.

Boxborough regional school district (2014) is a case which presented two questions of the State

constitutional and statutory law. First on the daily recitation of our Nations Pledge of allegiance

in the defeats schools violence the plaintiffs equal protection rights under the Massachusetts

Constitution , because the pledge include the words “under god”. Second whether the recitation

of the pledge prohibits discrimination in Massachusetts public school education. We hold that the

recitation of the pledge is entirely county and neither the Constitution nor the Statue. Although

the words “under God” undeniable have religious tinge, court that have considered the history of

the pledge and the presence of those words have consistently concluded that the pledge

notwithstanding it reference to God, is a fundamentally patriotic exercise, not a religious one. In

the case of Karens White, she has said that stating the pledge was against her religion is in

actuality not against her beliefs.

In my personal opinion in the court case of Karen White I personally believe that it was

wrong for her to be dismissed from her school. She had warned her parents ahead of time that

she will not be able to participate in any school activities. Parent communication is very

important and had advised her parents ahead of time. It would have been a very tough situation if

she had gone through her entire school year with no parent involvement that she was not going to

be incorporating specific holidays into her classroom. I also find it very hard to believe that her

not participating in certain holiday activities are taking away from her meeting her students

needs. I have a student aid in a 2nd grade classroom and I have been an aide for a teacher that

actually does not participate in a lot of activities due to her religion. She finds other ways to

incorporate the holiday in the students education. For example for Halloween she doesn’t touch

bases on the ghost and fantasy of Halloween. She will instead teach about bats and skeletons and

turn that into a fun activity for her students. I believe in the end Karen is better off teaching in a

school she feels more comfortable and able to be herself.

Reference Page

West Virginia State Bd. Of Educ. V. Barnette, 319 U.s. 624 (1943)

Facts and Case Summary - Engel V. Vitale
Minersville School District V. Gobitis (1940)
Findlaw's Supreme Judicial Court Of Massachusetts Case and Opinions.