The West Virginia State Board of Education on January 9, 1942, adopted a resolution citing from the Court's prior opinion in Gobitis and ordering that the salute to the flag become "a regular part of the program of activities in the public schools," that all teachers and pupils "shall be required to participate in the salute honoring the Nation represented by the Flag; provided, however, that refusal to salute the Flag be regarded as an act of insubordination, and shall be dealt with accordingly." Failure to conform was "insubordination," dealt with by expulsion. Readmission was denied by statute until compliance. Meanwhile, the expelled child was "unlawfully absent," and could be proceeded against as a delinquent. His parents or guardians were liable to prosecution, and, if convicted, were subject to fine not exceeding $50 and jail term not exceeding thirty days. Appellees, Jehovah's Witnesses, brought suit in the United States District Court for themselves and others similarly situated asking its injunction to restrain enforcement of these laws and regulations against them. Jehovah's Witnesses consider that the flag is an "image" within the meaning of the Biblical Second Commandment, and for that reason, they refuse to salute it.

READ MORE