McCollum v. Board of Education: Illinois Court Rules that Schools Can Teach Religion

McCollum v. Board of Education: Illinois Court Rules that Schools Can Teach Religion

Vashti McCollum

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Decided: McCollum v. Board of Education A three-judge circuit court in Urbana, Illinois, rules against Vashti McCollum and concludes that public schools have the authority to teach religion to pupils.

The decision says:

"So far as federal constitutional provisions are concerned, and conceding that they are binding on the state of Illinois and on the defendant school board, there is nothing in any expression of the federal supreme court that remotely indicates there is any constitutional objection to the Champaign system of religious education."

John L. Franklin, the attorney representing the Champaign school district, says:

"The cause of religious tolerance and freedom has been greatly advanced by the decision.

This program, which is to some extent experimental, has now received the stamp of approval of the law and has established a standard by which other fair-minded people may be guided in setting up similar programs."

Vashti McCollum, though, describes the decision as "a blow to the guarantee of personal liberty of which we have all been proud" and promises to appeal.

In December 1947, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule 6-1 in favor of McCollum, striking down the practice of having religious classes take place in public schools during the school day.

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