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Pierce v. Society of Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary

In Pierce v. Society of Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (1925), the Supreme Court upheld the right of parents to make educational decisions on behalf of their children, while acknowledging the states' right to regulate education, even in nonpublic schools. The decision remains one of the most prominent and frequently cited cases in the area of parental rights.

Facts of the Case

In 1922, the state of Oregon, as part of post-World War I nationalism, amended its compulsory attendance statute to require that “every parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge or custody of a child between 8 and 16 years to send him to a public school… between [the ages of] 8 and 16” (p. 529).

Two organizations operating private schools ...

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