West Side Schools v. Mergens

A Look at Students First Amendment Right

The First Admenment

The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Two parts in the First Amendment guarantee freedom of religion. One part of the First Amendment is the Establishment Clause which states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Another part which is called the Equal Access Act, states "It shall be unlawful for any public secondary school which receives federal financial assistance and which has a limited open forum to deny equal access or fair opportunity to,or discriminate against, any students who wish to conduct within that limited open forum on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical or other contend of the speech at such meetings."

The Case

West Side Schools v. Mergens Case was argued in January 9, 1990. During the case the Mom of the daughter argued that the Equal Access Act required the school to grant her a request to form a Christian Club. In the School's defense they stated that the Equal Access Act did not apply to Westside High and that, even if it did, the Act was unconstitutional.

The Verdict

West Side Schools v. Mergens Case was deiced June 4, 1990. The students won the case and got to create the club. The Court found there was no Establishment Clause violation because the Equal Access Act does not promote or endorse religion, but protects student initiated and student led meetings


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"BOARD OF EDUCATION OF WESTSIDE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS v. MERGENS." Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.

Facts of Congress - The First Amendment