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In the 1952 case of Zorach v. Clauson, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the practice of released time, whereby public school officials dismissed students during the school day so that they could go to other locations to participate in religious study off campus. In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court affirmed that school officials can accommodate a parental desire to have their children released from public school classes for the purpose of attending religious education classes.

Facts of the Case

Zorach involved a challenge to the constitutionality of a program in New York City that allowed its public schools to release students during the school day so that they could leave school grounds and participate in religious instruction and services at religious centers. Students could be released only ...

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