Tennessee school district to stop Christian prayers, Bible distribution

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (NEXSTAR) — A Tennessee school district plans to stop promoting Christianity following a lawsuit by two atheist families, according to the Associated Press.

The Smith County School District admitted it delivered Christian prayer over the school’s address system, posted Bible verses on posters in hallways and distributed Bibles to all fifth-grade students, according to a consent decree.

The initial lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the two families.

“All of these activities send a clear message to minority-faith and non-religious students that they are second-class members of the school community while their Christian peers are favored by school officials,” the initial lawsuit read.

Promoting religion and coercing religious exercise is a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, the consent decree filed Monday in federal court in Nashville stated.

“I’m relieved the school district recognized that its widespread promotion of religion was unconstitutional,” plaintiff Kelly Butler said in a news release. “My children, and all children, deserve an education that is free from the type of religious coercion that our family has suffered.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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