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Teachers' Loyalty Oath


TEACHERS' LOYALTY OATH. Since 1863, nearly two-thirds of the states have adopted loyalty oaths for teachers. Some oaths prohibit membership in subversive groups and the teaching of subversive doctrines, and others ask for sweeping disclaimers of past beliefs and associations. The early Cold War years following World War II produced a bumper crop of such oaths. In Cramp v. Board of Public Instruction of Orange County, Florida (1961), the Supreme Court struck down all-encompassing oaths infringing on First Amendment rights to freedom of thought and expression, but affirmed the constitutionality of generic teachers' oaths to uphold state and federal constitutions in Knight v. Board of Regents of University of State of New York (1967).


Reutter, E. Edmund, Jr., and Robert R. Hamilton. The Law of Public Education. 2d ed. Mineola, N.Y.: Foundation Press, 1976.

Samuel H.Popper/c. w.

See alsoPierce v. Society of Sisters .

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