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Artifact 4 EDU 210 Ariana Camarena

Ariana Camarena

Artifact 4

EDU 210

June 30, 2018


Artifact 4 EDU 210 Ariana Camarena

Karen White is a kindergarten teacher who is in affiliation with Jehova’s Witnesses. Due

to her religion, Karen cannot lead or participate in holiday activities such as gift exchanges

during Christmas season, and singing “Happy Birthday,” or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

The principal, Bill Ward dismissed her based on not effectively meeting the students needs after

parents protested.

In the case of West Virginia State Board of Education vs Barnette (1943) a family of

Jehova’s Witness refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning which was a

mandatory school activity. The students were suspended for non-compliance and their parents

were faced with prosecutions for causing juvenile delinquency. The court overruled the school

district’s decision and held that “compelling public schoolchildren to salute the flag was

unconstitutional.” (Oyez) The principal’s dismissal to White is unconstitutional because it

violates her First Ammendment rights to freedom of expression and free exercise rights.

Karen White has the right to worship as she chooses because of the Free Exercise Clause

of the First Amendment. Wisconsin vs Yoder was a Supreme Court Case in 1971 in which three

Amish families refused to send their children to school past the 8th grade. The court ruled in the

Amish familie’s favor and held that “individual's interests in the free exercise of religion under

the First Amendment outweighed the State's interests in compelling school attendance beyond

the eighth grade.” (Oyez) The school would be violating Karen White’s free exercise of religion

if they dismissed her for not being able to lead in or participate in certain activities.

Although Karen’s religion does not allow her to participate in some activities it does not

give her the right to take away these activities and celebrations from her students. In Clever vs

Cherry Hill Township Board of Education (1993) the court held that celebrations and holiday

activities are permissible on the basis of diversity and tolerance. In Ward’s defense, his dismissal
Artifact 4 EDU 210 Ariana Camarena

is appropriate because Karen White is not meeting the student’s needs and taking away the

students rights to activities just because they are religious in nature.

In a similar case, Florey vs Sioux Falls School District (1979), a parent complained after

a kindergarten class performed a recital of Christmas music. The court held that Sioux Falls

School District may permit the historical and contemporary values of religious holidays in an

unbiased and objective manner for educational purposes. Karen White is not meeting the needs

of the students because holidays are a part of culture and by ommitting secular holiday activities

from her curriculum she is taking away a part of the students’ education of diversity and cultures.

I don’t believe there is a good enough reason for Karen White’s dismissal. Ward is

violating her First Ammendment Right and Free Exercise clause by dismissing her. Her religion

prohibits her from being involved in holiday activities but it shouldn’t prohibit her from doing

her job.
Artifact 4 EDU 210 Ariana Camarena

References

Justia Law. (2018). Florey v. SIOUX FALLS SCH. DIST. 49-5, 464 F. Supp. 911 (D.S.D. 1979).

[online] Available at: https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/464/911/1520042/

[Accessed 30 Jun. 2018].

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette. (n.d.). Oyez. Retrieved June 29, 2018, from

https://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1955/319us624

Belcherfoundation.org. (2018). Clever v. Cherry Hill Township Board of Education (1993).

[online] Available at: http://www.belcherfoundation.org/clever_v_cherry_hill.htm [Accessed 30

Jun. 2018].