West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)

Lesson Plan

This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court’s decision that it was unconstitutional for a state to force students to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Students learn how the interests of national unity and the protection of individual rights can sometimes clash. They also explore “Freedom of Religion” as outlined in the First Amendment as well as the Supreme Court’s interpretation of that right over time. This case overturned the Court's decision in Minersville v. Gobitas (1940).


  • Describe the rights protected by the First Amendment.
  • Identify the main arguments put forth in the case.
  • Describe the Superme Court's decision and rationale.
  • Identify the impact of the decision on the issue of student expression at school and individuals' rights.


Downloadable Resources

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