Patrick Stieve

Danielle Gouch

Ansonia Board of Education (Defendant) v. Philbrook (Plaintiff) United States Court of Appeals Argued October 14, 1986 Decided November 17, 1986

Background: Ronald Philbrook was a teacher, employed by Ansonia Board of Education. He also was a very religious man whose chosen religion called for 6 holy days that required him to miss school. This situation interfered with his allotted days that he could take off for religious reasons; therefore he proposed a solution to the board. He asked if he could take 3 personal days and he would pay the substitute from his own salary to account for the other 3 days. The board unfortunately turned him down, in which he filled suit stating that his religious rights were being violated.

Decision: The initial decision in this case was that the courts sided with the board of education, stating that the plaintiff did not prove that the board actually discriminated against him and his religion. They stated that the school board did not show any discrimination because they did allow their staff to have the 3 days a year off for religious reasons; the courts felt like the board met their burden. Mr. Philbrook then pled his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which actually reversed the decision and stated that the board of education has to accept the offers from any employee unless it interferers with the day to day nature of the job; via Title VII.

Impact on Education:

Personal preferences should not be our first priority. Teachers are there to educate students and we have to realize we may have to work on days that are considered personal to us. The lines will be blurred in the teaching field because we have a responsibility to our students and our personal lives sometimes will have to be compromised to do our job. School systems have accommodations set in place and we as teachers have to abide by those rules.

Quiz Question:

How many days were given during the year for the observance of religious holidays?

A) 150

B) 18

C) 1

D) 3