24 F.Supp. 271 (E.D.Pa. 1938), 9727, Gobitis v. Minersville School Dist.

Docket Nº:9727.
Citation:24 F.Supp. 271
Party Name:GOBITIS et al. v. MINERSVILLE SCHOOL DIST. et al.
Case Date:June 18, 1938
Court:United States District Courts, 3th Circuit, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Page 271

24 F.Supp. 271 (E.D.Pa. 1938)

GOBITIS et al.



No. 9727.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania.

June 18, 1938.

Page 272

H. M. McCaughey, of Philadelphia, Pa., for complainants.

John B. McGurl, of Minersville, Pan., and Rawle & Henderson, of Philadelphia, Pa., for defendants.

MARIS, District Judge.

This suit in equity was brought to enjoin the individual defendants from continuing to prohibit the attendance of the minor plaintiffs at the Minersville Public Schools because of their refusal to salute the national flag as required by the defendants. From the evidence I make the following special findings of fact:

Plaintiff Walter Gobitis is a citizen of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is a resident of the Borough of Minersville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Plaintiffs Lillian Gobitis (hereinafter called Lillian) and William Gobitis (hereinafter called William) are his children. Lillian was born November 2, 1923, and is now fifteen years of age. William was born September 17, 1925, and is now thirteen years of age. Both of them are citizens of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and reside with their parents in the Borough of Minersville where they have lived for many years.

The Minersville School District is a public school district of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania embracing the territory of the Borough of Minersville. The individual defendants David I. Jones, Dr. E. A. Valibus, Claude L. Price, Dr. T. J. McGurl, George Beatty, Thomas B. Evans and William Zapf were at the time this suit was brought the duly elected and acting members of the Board of Education (hereinafter called the Board) of the Minersville School District having the management and control of the Minersville Public Schools. David I. Jones is no longer a member of the Board, having been succeeded by Dr. E. W. Keith. George Beatty is no longer a member of the Board having died January 30, 1938. Defendant Charles E. Roudabush is the superintendent of the Minersville Public Schools appointed by and acting under the direction and supervision of the Board. All of the surviving defendants are residents of the Borough of Minersville and citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and of the United States.

The Minersville Public Schools were and are free public schools under the supervision and jurisdiction of the Board. William and Lillian were placed in the Minersville Public School by their father, Walter Gobitis, at the beginning of the school year 1935-1936 and attended the school until November 6, 1935.

On November 6, 1935 at a regular meeting of the Board the following school regulation was adopted: 'That the Superintendent of the Minersville Public Schools be required to demand that all teachers and pupils of said schools be required to salute the flag of our country as a part of the daily exercises. That refusal to salute the flag shall be regarded as an act of insubordination and shall be dealt with accordingly.'

Lillian and William having failed to salute the national flag at the daily exercises of the Minersville Public School, defendant

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Charles E. Roudabush on November 6, 1935, at the direction of the Board and immediately after the adoption of the regulation above quoted, publicly announced: 'I hereby expel from the Minersville Schools Lillian Gobitis...

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