The New York Board of Regents, a governmental agency created by the New York Constitution, composed a prayer and recommended its use to the state’s public schools. The Board of Education of Union Free School District No. 9, New Hyde Park, New York, required its schools to begin each school day with the prayer. Students recited the prayer aloud immediately following the Pledge of Allegiance in the presence of a teacher who either led the prayer or selected a student to do so. Shortly after the Board of Education adopted the policy requiring students to recite the Regents’ prayer, the parents of 10 students brought suit in a New York state court. The parents challenged the constitutionality of the prayer because it was contrary to their religious beliefs and those of their children. They argued that the prayer was a violation of the no establishment of religion clause of the First Amendment. The trial court upheld the use of the prayer as a part of a school’s daily procedure so long as the school did not compel any student to join in the prayer over parents’ objections. Following the trial court’s direction, the Hyde Park Board of Education adopted a policy allowing students not to participate in reciting the prayer. Students could either remain silent or be excused entirely. The New York Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s judgment, and the parents then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.