EVERSON v. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF EWING ET AL.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 330 U.S. 1 February 10, 1947, Decided
Background:

Everson, a taxpayer in New Jersey, filed a suit challenging whether the Board of Education in Ewing had the right to reimburse parents the money they spent for their children to ride to school on busses run by the public transportation system. These children attended local Catholic schools and Everson felt that this reimbursement went against both the State and Federal Constitutions. The First Amendment states that a state “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” and Everson’s case was built upon the belief that the reimbursement to these parents was encouraging religious practice of the Catholic faith by New Jersey.

Decision:

It was decided that the First Amendment meant that neither State nor Federal Government could pass any laws that aid a religion or show preference towards a specific religion. The Court decided that parents could send their children to any school that meets secular educational requirements put forth by the state. In this case, these schools met those requirements and it was decided that all the state was contributing was developing a program that helped parents get their children to school safely.

Impact on Education:

This case allows for Boards of Education to reimburse parents who pay for their children to be transported to religious schools as long as they meet the state’s educational requirements. However, by allowing compensation for some students that attend Catholic schools, this may entice parents to choose Catholic schools because of the added benefits.

Test Question:

T/F If a school does not meet all state standards, parents may still have the right to be reimbursed for transportation to that particular school.

Ashley Collins
Rebekah Watson