Freedom Of Speech: The Engel Vs Vitale Case

1508 words - 6 pages

Freedom of speech was a big topic spoken about in the 1950’s and even today. Schools in the 1950’s had to recite a specific prayer every morning in school not like today. Students had to recite the “twenty two word regents prayer”. The Engel Vs Vitale case has to do with separation of church and state, meaning that there should be a separation between peoples views on religious freedom and the government. In the first amendment, Thomas Jefferson introduced this law and rule during the colonies but then this later evolved into the United States, where into the 1950’s became a huge debate on who was right and who was wrong. The Supreme Court case Engel v. Vitale expanded the rights of Americans because the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Stephen Engel and the families of the students against prayer in schooling; because of this decision, students should be able to absent themselves from prayer in school.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, people from Great Britain, moved and voyaged to the colonies for many reasons. A bulge of people moved to the “New World” , because there were more opportunities, as well as freedoms. The colonies offered freedom of religion and freedom and belief. As a colonist you had a right to believe in different religions than another person. In England you were to believe in the Church of England. In the colonies you were allowed to belief in any religion, stated in the first amendment(Brannen Jr., et al pg. 109).
The Engel v. Vitale Supreme Court case was between, a parent, of a student named Stephen Engel and he was opposed to William Vitale Jr, the chairman board of the New Hyde Park school district located in New York. Many around the USA renamed the case as “New York Regents Prayer Case”. The reason the case was being reevaluated is because five parents in New Hyde Park, Long Island, didn’t like the fact that their kids had to recite an eight second prayer before school every day Engel representing the majority of the families sending their children to school objected to the fact that they had to recite a prayer which used words such as “Almighty God”, and “blessings” . Petitions were filed and New York State upheld the case and then sent it to the Supreme Court(Britannica School High paragraph 2).
A couple of the families were Jewish, another family was atheist, one parent was Unitarian and the last parent was of an ethical culture society. The Parents were to believe that the school was violating the first amendment of the constitution and this was not right; that according to Thomas Jefferson there should be a separation of state and church. Never before had the public school board been argued against with prayer like issues ( Haas, pg 7-20).
The Supreme court case started in 1959 and ended in 1962, surprising the whole nation.
One of the most historic most remembered cases was announced on June 25th, 1962 giving a lot of people anxiety and releasing a lot of stress. The voting came out to six votes to one vote...

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