Engel v. Vitale

370 U.S. 421 (1962)

Overview Engal v.Vitale

Engel v.Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that ruled it is unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and encourage its recitation in public schools. This case was brought by a group of families of public school students in New Hyde Park, New York that stated prayer in school was against there religious beliefs. According to Dierenfield B (2012), " The governments of twenty-two states signed on to an amicus curiae brief urging affirmance of the New York Court of Appeals decision that upheld the constitutionality of the prayer." The decision was made on June 25th 1962 to stop prayer in public schools.

What educators did in the specific case selected? The outcome of the case?

The court ruled that government-written prayers were not to be recited in public schools and were a violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Establishment Clause of the first amendment. The court explained the importance of separation between church and state by giving a lengthy history of the issues, beginning with the 16th century in England. According to Dierenfield, B (2012), "It stated that school's prayer is a religious activity by the very nature of it being a prayer, and the prescribing such a religious activity for school children violates the Establishment Clause." The outcome of this case prayer was removed from public school in 1962.

How can eduators balance the concepts of separation of church and state and still value religious diversity?

The first thing educators must do is separate yourself from school and church. Understand how to balance the constitutional clauses regarding church and school. Although the word separation of church and state do no appear in the first amendment, the establishment cause was intended to separate church from state ("First Amendment Center Archieve", 2014).

How would I handle this situation as a educator?

I would be able to handle this situation as a educator and still perform my job duties to the best of my abilities. Especially after these last few weeks discussing different people values, beliefs and culture. I understand we all are different and just because they do not welcome Jesus/prayer into school doesn't mean I still could get to myself and whisper a daily prayer. Asking God to watch over all us on day to day bases.