Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. Board of Ed. of School Dist. No. 71, Champaign County

PETITIONER:Illinois ex rel. Vashti McCollum
RESPONDENT:Board of Ed. of School Dist. No. 71, Champaign County, Illinois
LOCATION: Doctor Howard Elementary School

DECIDED BY: Vinson Court (1946-1949)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Illinois

ARGUED: Dec 08, 1947
DECIDED: Mar 08, 1948

Edward R. Burke – for the appellant
John L. Franklin – for the appellees
Owen Rall – for the appellees
Walter F. Dodd – for the appellant

Facts of the case

In 1940, members of the Jewish, Roman Catholic, and some Protestant faiths formed a voluntary association called the Champaign (Illinois) Council on Religious Education. Cooperating with the Champaign Board of Education, the Council offered voluntary classes in religious instruction to public school pupils. The courses were conducted in the regular classrooms of the school building. Students who did not attend the religious instruction were required to go to some other place in the building to pursue secular studies.Vashti McCollum objected on behalf of her son, Terry, who was a student at Doctor Howard Elementary School.


Did the use of the public school system for religious classes violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause?