First Amendment Importance

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The first settlers in America came to the New World to seek religious liberty. Taking a risk, they began their treacherous journey to an unknown land in order to practice their own beliefs without limitation. Later in the narrative of the making of America, the founding fathers drafted a constitution-- a collection of laws and regulations which set up the government we still know and practice today. Arguably the most important part of the constitution, the first amendment, gives citizens the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. These freedoms have been the backbone of this great country for centuries, has set us apart from other nations, and has shaped the course of American history. However, the first amendment freedom of religion is more difficult to protect in the classroom than the outside world.
Two defining pieces of American history are the Supreme Court cases of both West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette of 1943 and Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District of 1967. In the 1943 case, the West Virginia State Board of Education required all students to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. However, many of the students were Jehovah 's Witnesses and argued
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An individual’s right to act and speak according to their own unique perspectives is invaluable and an existing privilege in any given developed nation. To withhold a citizen’s first amendment rights is to defy our democratic government and defile the very foundation this nation was built upon. It is important to raise and teach children to be open minded and tolerant of other peers, no matter how different they may be. It is vital that students are allowed to carry out their religion as they wish, and even if this means sacrificing class time, their devotion and creed takes priority to missing a few out of 180
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