School has been an issue which the Amish have come into conflict not with each other but with state and local governments.
In Elmer Schwieder and Dorothy Schwieder’s book A Peculiar People: Iowa’s Old Order Amish, the Schwieders document the conflicts between state officials and Amish families over the compulsory education issue. The 1960’s began a series of fines, jail terms, and court cases. In Iowa’s Buchanan County the school superintendent, J. J. Jorgensen, filed complaints against the Amish school leaders for sending their children to unapproved schools.
After a series of fines and the October 28, 1963 judgment of District Judge George Heath that the Amish are not exempt from such school requirements, the conflict rose to a rapid climax. It was the fall of 1965 when the Amish defendants refused to pay the $24 fines and it became obvious the soon Amish land would have to be confiscated and sold which would eventually ruin the area economy. Continue reading