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doeriver Donating Member (677 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-03-11 07:07 AM
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ACLU accuses Sumner schools of promoting Christianity |
ACLU accuses Sumner schools of promoting Christianity
3:58 AM, May. 3, 2011

Written by
Julie Hubbard
The Tennessean

Sumner County schools have shown a pattern of promoting Christianity by allowing groups to hand out Bibles at school, having students sing Shout Amen in a chorus program and permitting a teacher to hang a cross in her classroom, a lawsuit filed Monday alleges.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee filed the civil suit in U.S. District Court in Nashville on behalf of nine students, who remain anonymous and are not giving media interviews.

They attend Beech High School, T.W. Hunter and Ellis middle schools and Madison Creek and Indian Lake elementary schools.

The suit claims that since 2006, Sumner school officials repeatedly violated the First Amendment requirement that public schools and their employees remain neutral when it comes to the endorsement of one religion over another.

Your choice to believe or not believe should be made within your family, said Tricia Herzfeld, legal director of the ACLU-TN.

Its not an appropriate role for government officials, whether it be at school or work. Children should be free from pressure to believe in a particular faith.

The Sumner County school system had little comment Monday.

We are aware of the allegations and we are prepared to defend the allegations, said attorney Wesley Southerland with the American Center for Law and Justice, hired by the school district last week. We are taking all precautions to make sure the school system is solely proceeding in a manner consistent with the Constitution.

Charges made

Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that:

The Gideons International and others were allowed to proselytize and hand out Bibles to Sumner students.

At Madison Creek Elementary during morning announcements, the student Bible Club often prayed over the loudspeaker.

Ellis Middle held its fall program in November with nine songs seven of which were religious in nature.

A teacher at T.W. Hunter Middle displayed a 10-inch cross above her whiteboard.

A youth pastor from Long Hollow Baptist Church in Sumner County was allowed to eat lunch weekly with students at T.W. Hunter Middle and talk about his church and religion.

Three high school graduation ceremonies are planned later this month at the same church.

(...more at hyperlink)

Copy of ACLU-TN lawsuit

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