Patrick Stieve
Danielle Gouch
ENGEL ET AL. (Parents)v.VITALE ET AL. (NEW York)
Supreme Court of United States
Argued April 3, 1962.

Decided June 25, 1962

This case was brought to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1962 arguing 1st amendment rights violation, with respect to religion. The infraction was brought up by families that resided in New Hyde Park, New York. The parents here were upset due to the board of regents in New York’s decision to offer a unison prayer that would be recited state wide at the beginning of each school day, with children having the opportunity to participate in the prayer. The argument was that reciting the prayer among their children was contradicting their religion. The prayer read as follows- “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen.”
The court decided that it was unconstitutional for legislation to impose a law that requires or includes the use of religious expressions. When the state of New York dispersed the prayer to its public institutes, they approved religion. Thus deemed unconstitutional; this also is where the courts began use of the establishment clause in a series of other cases involving religious activities.
Impact on Education:
The decision of this case affects today’s teachers because there is a fine line in regards to religion in the classroom. There are many inferences to God starting with the Pledge of Allegiance which states “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” along with the National Anthem. As a teacher we have to be respectful of all religions because not everyone believes in the same faith. We have to establish neutral setting where a child is free to participate without fear of being punished by the teacher or school administration.

Quiz question: Who recommended the prayer in the New Hyde Park school district?
A) Board of Education of the New Hyde Park school district
B) State Board of Regents
C) New York State Court
D) Congress