1972 May 15

Free Exercise of Religion Protects Parents’ Right to Control of Children’s Education


In Wisconsin v. Yoder, decided on this day, the Supreme Court, citing the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, ruled that states could not compel Amish children to attend public schools beyond the 8th grade.

In the 1920s the Supreme Court issued two decisions striking down state laws and upholding a constitutional right of parents to control their childrens’ education. The first involved a Nebraska law that forbade the teaching of German language in both public and private schools (June 4, 1923). The second involved an Oregon law, sponsored by the KKK, that would have closed Catholic and other private and parochial schools (June 1, 1925).

Chief Justice Warren Burger: “Only those interests of the highest order and those not otherwise served can overbalance legitimate claims to the free exercise of religion.”

Read: Shawn Peters, The Yoder Case: Religious Freedom, Education, and Parental Rights (2003)

Learn more about the Free Exercise Clause: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/free-exercise-clause

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!