WALLACE V JAFFREE 472 U.S 38 (1985)
United States Supreme Court
Argued Tuesday, December 4, 1984 Decided Tuesday, June 4, 1985


Summary:
Ishmael Jaffree, an Alabama citizen and father to three students attending the Mobile County Public School System, brought suit against the school system and various administration as well as teachers. According to Jaffree, the school system should not have allowed teachers the 1 minute of organized meditation/ prayer every morning. He was seeking an injunction that would prevent the public school system from requiring students to engage in organized religious activities.

Decision/ Rationale:
The Supreme Court ruled that the state of Alabama did violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. By organizing prayer and meditation time in school, the public schools of Alabama were not remaining neutral to religion. In fact, allowing prayer and meditation in school sent out the message of an endorsement of religion on the part of the public school system and the state of Alabama.

Impact on Education:
Cases such as this one set standards for teachers. Guidelines and a strict code of ethics stem from the rulings on cases like this. When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jaffree, they laid out in stone a new path to follow for teachers everywhere. From then on, there was not to be any indication or endorsement of religion, however trivial or vague it may seem. Therefore, a moment of prayer in the morning before school is now against the law and we, as educators must be aware of this.

Test Question: (T/F) If a specific religion was not endorsed, prayer would be acceptable in the classroom.

Emily Stone
Briana Collier