The St. Johns County School District recently settled a case for $140,000. The case involved allegations that the St. Johns School District improperly promoted religion. The case in particular challenged the constitutionality of the performance or promotion of the song “In God We Still Trust” in a third grade class.
The Plaintiffs in the case claimed that the song promoted religion and made their children uncomfortable in the school. There are many strong opinions on each side regarding cases of this nature. The St. Johns School District settled the case after the matter was litigated in Federal Court. The case did not go to trial. The settlement was reached after due consideration by each side as to the damages that could have been awarded to the children as well as the Plaintiff’s attorney fees that would have been awarded if the Plaintiffs were successful at trial. No matter which side you support – the song raised questions and turned out to be very costly for the school district.
When dealing with religious issues in the public school system, administrators, teachers, and parents for that matter should be sensitive to the fact that there are a number of different religions and religious practices in the community. Some do not even believe in any religious faith at all. That is part of the freedom of this country.
It is important for schools to follow the mandates of the school district policies and procedures, the Florida statutes, the Florida Administrative Code, the Florida Constitution and the United States Constitution.
You can read more about this story at St. Johns County School District Settles Lawsuit Over Alleged Religious Song – Sides Still Disagree Issues.