Engel v. Vitale: Prayer in the Schools by Susan Dudley Gold
FACE the CASE - Engel v. Vitale
Engel v. Vitale
Skip to main navigation. A New York State law required public schools to open each day with the Pledge of Allegiance and a nondenominational prayer in which the students recognized their dependence upon God. The law allowed students to absent themselves from this activity if they found it objectionable. A parent sued on behalf of his child, arguing that the law violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as made applicable to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Whether school-sponsored nondenominational prayer in public schools violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
But the Supreme Court decision in Engel v. If a group of students were to assemble before school and say this prayer aloud, there would be no constitutional conflict. But what if all public schools in a state began the day with a formal recitation of this prayer? Students who did not wish to say it could choose to remain silent or stand outside the room, and face no penalty. This practice was challenged in the landmark Supreme Court case Engel v. Today, the amendment is often used to keep religion out of government spaces such as public schools, libraries, and courtrooms.