Teaching Supreme Court Cases: Wisconsin v. Yoder Lesson Plan

This blog and the accompanying resource are part of a Shaped monthly series providing teachers for Grades 6–12 with downloadable U.S. history classroom resources and discussion topics.

Do parents have the right to remove their children from school if attending goes against their religious beliefs?

Debate surrounding this topic arose when three Amish families in Wisconsin, citing religious beliefs, said their children would not attend high school. The parents were charged with violating a state law requiring children to attend school until 16 years old. A Lutheran minister formed a group to represent the Amish families in court.

In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a person's First Amendment right to freedom of religion outweighed the state's interest in requiring that children attend school past eighth grade.

Have your students debate the role of the First Amendment in this Supreme Court case—as well as the case's implications today—with this Wisconsin v. Yoder lesson plan.

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Learn more about HMH Social Studies, including the Judicial Inquiries program for middle and high school students to study 25 landmark Supreme Court cases that continue to impact their lives.

Read more blogs about teaching Supreme Court cases, including: