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Freethought Today · November 2015

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF lawsuit ends Georgia school prayer

FFRF dismissed its lawsuit against Emanuel County School District in Swainsboro, Ga., after the district agreed to stop teacher-led prayer and proselytization in its public schools.

A concerned family had contacted FFRF about prayer in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. FFRF sent a letter in August 2014 to the district but teachers continued to subject students to prayer, and the family's students were bullied and ostracized. FFRF filed suit in February, alleging that teasing classmates and pressure to pray from teachers led one child to drop out of kindergarten, while teachers told the first-grader to start praying and not to listen to the child's mother, whom one teacher described as a "bad person."

But after the suit was filed, the district relented. Emanuel staff have received educational training on their obligations not to promote religious beliefs in their classrooms and the family has been financially compensated.

"We're pleased that the Emanuel County Schools has taken action to correct the egregious constitutional violations that were taking place in its classrooms," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "No devotions and religious practices should take place in public schools, and no small child should ever be pressured to take part in such illegal practices."

FFRF was represented by litigation attorney Wally Nichols of W.R. Nichols and Associates. FFRF Staff Attorneys Sam Grover and Andrew Seidel also worked to build the case.
Grover noted, "Educators in Georgia, where we receive many complaints about religion in schools, and throughout the country, need to know that their duty is to educate students, not fill their heads with religious propaganda."