The Freedom From Religion Foundation has put an end to illegal prayer in a Manchester, Tenn., kindergarten classroom.
A Hillsboro Elementary School teacher led her kindergarten students in daily prayers. Students were expected to join their teacher, proclaiming "God is good, God is great. . ." In at least one instance this teacher informed students that rainbows "are a sign from God that he wouldn't flood the world again." FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert sent an advisory letter to Superintendent Kenny Casteel on Feb. 28: "Instructing kindergarteners to pray violates the U.S. Constitution. Coffee County Schools must take immediate action to stop its teachers from imposing their religious beliefs and practices on their students." Her letter cited constitutional chapter and verse, invoking decades of firm Supreme Court rulings barring such devotional and coercive practices in public schools.
Markert received a positive response from the director of schools on March 12: "The teacher has been reminded of her obligations under the law, and has assured us that no such problems will re-occur. This topic will be brought to the attention of all teachers within the system."