Tennessee school will stop incorporating prayer in school events while a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of four atheist students and their parents is pending.

  • Officials of the public Smith County School System in Tennessee said they will comply after U.S. District Chief Judge Waverly Crenshaw Jr. signed a preliminary injunction on April 17.
  • The suit, filed by the ACLU, Kelly Butler on behalf of his two daughters, and Jason and Sharona Carr on behalf of their son and daughter, alleges the students, who attend Smith County High School and Smith County Middle School in Carthage, Tenn., are subjected to unwelcome indoctrination and religious messages.
  • One of the girl’s declaration said, “School sponsorship of prayer and religious messages makes me deeply uncomfortable because I am an atheist. Due to the official prayers, religious messages, and other religious activities, I feel that school officials are trying to pressure me into becoming a Christian.”
  • The preliminary injunction bars teachers and other school officials from promoting prayers at school events; putting a religious title on school events; organizing a religious service; requiring or encouraging students to attend a religious service; or citing or assigning readings from the Bible.
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