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CIVIO, A Civil Rights GameThe content on this page supplements CIVIO, a civil rights strategy card game designed by and available from Reach and Teach. Learn more>>

Engel v Vitale (1962)

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It is unconstitutional for a school to require students to recite prayers

Decided: June 25, 1962
Issue(s): School
Increases: Religion, 1st and 14th amendments
Decreases:  

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A New York Board of Education instructed that the following prayer be recited aloud by every student in the presence of a teacher at the beginning of each school day: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country." The Court wrote: "[The drafters of the Constitution] knew, some of them from bitter personal experience, that one of the greatest dangers to the freedom of the individual to worship in his own way lay in the Government's placing its official stamp of approval upon one particular kind of prayer or one particular form of religious services. They knew the anguish, hardship and bitter strife that could come when zealous religious groups struggled with one another to obtain the Government's stamp of approval from each King, Queen, or Protector that came to temporary power."




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