By Bob Weaver

Former Calhoun educator Don McGlothlin (left) was a fan of of the 40th president Ronald Reagan, writing a book, Star to Guide Us about the man, who has now passed at age 93.

He said Reagan simply talked common sense and had deep determination to lead America in the right direction.

"He stands for less government, paternalism, lower taxes and strong national defense," said McGlothlin.

He knew why he was president and he understood America.

McGlothlin gave Reagan credit for turning swords into plowshares, accelerating the demise of the Soviet Union.

McGlothlin did not survive a conflict at Calhoun County High School during World War II, refusing to force a student to utter the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

He was fired by the Calhoun school board, with the case going to the US Supreme Court, which eventually vindicated McGlothlin's position.

Despite his personal hardships, McGlothlin remained a great patriot and supporter of Reagan, and went on to become a leading educator.

He believed that Reagan believed in his positions, rarely faltering from his course, and will go down in history as one of America's great presidents.

(08/25/2003) SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Don McGlothlin Challenged By The Times

(08/25/2002) February 13, 1988 Chicago Tribune article:

The educator whose refusal to expel a student for not saluting the flag the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor led to a landmark Supreme Court decision has died.

Donald McGlothlin, who lived in suburban Wheeling, died of undetermined causes Wednesday at the Veteran's Administration's Lakeside Medical Center in Chicago, said his son, Paul.

McGlothlin's actions as principal of Calhoun County High School in Grantsville, W. Va., prompted the Supreme Court's West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette decision in 1943.

1949 Ruling Reversed:

In that decision, the court reversed its own 1940 ruling and said public schools violated some students' religious freedom by forcing them to join in the Pledge of Allegiance each morning.

Before the ruling, West Virginia schoolchildren were subject to expulsion and delinquency proceedings for being "unlawfully absent" if they refused to participate in the flag salute.

At a patriotic assembly on Dec. 8, 1941, a student, Lavaughn Kelley, a Jehovah's Witness, refused to salute the flag on the basis of her religious beliefs.

Paul McGlothlin said that after his father did not force her to salute the flag and did not expel her, he was brought before the Board of Education and forced to resign.

"He believed that everybody should salute the flag, but not because they're forced to. He felt that would undermine democracy," Paul McGlothlin said.

Several families of Jehovah's Witnesses then challenged the school board policy and the case went on to the nation's highest court.

Considered a False Idol

Diane Geraghty of Glencoe, president of the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Jehovah's Witnesses "consider the flag a false idol, and they do not salute."

Geraghty, a professor of constitutional law at Loyola University in Chicago, said that although the basic issue in the case could be considered one of religious liberty, it was actually decided on the "freedom of speech" clauses in the U.S. Constitution.

McGlothlin enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served in the Pacific during World War II. He moved to Chicago in 1954 and was hired as a teacher and remained in education until his death.