Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. Board of Education, Champaign County, Illinois, 333 U.S. 203; 68 S. Ct. 461; 92 L. Ed. 648 (1948)
Facts—Public schools in Champaign County, Illinois, allowed religious teachers to provide weekly in-house religious instruction. School authorities provided a period of thirty or forty-five minutes taken from the time of the regular school day. If the children did not attend the religious instruction, they were given something else to do in this time. The school board did not pay the instructors, and the children were required to have parental consent to attend these classes.
Question—Does this use of the school building and school time violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments?
Reasons—J. Black (8–1). There was a close cooperation between the secular and religious authorities in promoting religious education. Classes were conducted in the regular classrooms of the school building. The operation of the state’s compulsory education system assisted in and was integrated with the program of religious education carried on by the separate sects. Pupils compelled by law to attend school for a secular education were released in part from their duty if they went to these religious classes. This was beyond all question a utilization of the tax-supported public system to aid religious groups to spread their faith, and it fell squarely under the ban of the First Amendment (as made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment).
In dissent, J. Reed pointed to past examples of church/state accommodation and argued that Illinois had not crossed the line of permissibility in this case.