Minersville Sch. Dist. v. Board of Educ.,
310 U.S. 586 (1940)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Minersville Sch. Dist. v. Board of Educ., 310 U.S. 586 (1940)

Minersville School District v. Board of Education

No. 690

Argued April 25, 1940

Decided June 3, 1940

310 U.S. 586


1. A state regulation requiring that pupils in the public schools, on pain of expulsion, participate in a daily ceremony of saluting the national flag whilst reciting in unison a pledge of allegiance to it "and to the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" -- held within the scope of legislative power, and consistent with the Fourteenth Amendment, as applied to children brought up in, and entertaining, a conscientious religious belief that such obeisance to the flag is forbidden by the Bible and that the Bible, as the Word of God, is the supreme authority. P. 310 U. S. 591.

2. Religious convictions do not relieve the individual from obedience to an otherwise valid general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. P. 310 U. S. 594.

3. So far as the Federal Constitution is concerned, it is within the province of the legislatures and school authorities of the several States to adopt appropriate means to evoke and foster a sentiment of national unity among the children in the public schools. P. 310 U. S. 597.

4. This Court cannot exercise censorship over the conviction of legislatures that a particular program or exercise will best promote in the minds of children who attend the common schools an attachment to the institutions of their country, nor overrule the local judgment against granting exemptions from observance of such a program. P. 310 U. S. 598.

108 F.2d 683, reversed.

CERTIORARI, 309 U.S. 645, to review the affirmance of a

decree (24 F.Supp. 271; opinion, 21 F.Supp. 581) which perpetually enjoined the above-named School District, the members of its board of education, and its superintendent of public schools from continuing to enforce an order expelling from the public schools certain minors (suing in this case by their father as next friend), and from

Page 310 U. S. 587

requiring them to salute the national flag as a condition to their right to attend.

Page 310 U. S. 591

Primary Holding

In this eventually overruled decision, the Court held that public schools may require their students to salute the American flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance over any religious objections.

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