12:41pm

Thu December 8, 2011
School System Attorney Downplays Changes

ACLU and Sumner County Schools Settle Religion Lawsuit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union and the Sumner County Board of Education have settled a law suit claiming educators there were promoting Christianity.

Under a consent decree announced yesterday, schools officials are not allowed to proselytize, religious symbols and items have to be kept out of sight, course material must have a clear educational purpose and school officials can’t encourage or solicit prayer at school functions.

The school system was represented in the case by the American Center for Law and Justice, an organization that has deep ties to the evangelical Christian community. ACLJ attorney David French downplayed the scope of the agreement in an interview earlier today.

"It's not giving up things that they'd previously done except for some minor changes in the use of religious facilities and some minor changes to a lunch room visitation policy. What the settlement does, is it pretty clearly  outlines what the law is. The school district hasn't given up on anything."

Nine students and their families stepped forward as plaintiffs in the suite.  The ACLU describes that as an unusually large number and says it indicates the depth of the problem in the Sumner school system.