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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has filed a federal lawsuit to end the widespread promotion of religion in the Smith County School System. 

The federal lawsuit was brought on by two families and alleges that school officials regularly incorporate prayer into school events and attempt to convert students who violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. 

The unlawful religious activities have reportedly been going on for several school years.

The activities include school-directed prayer during mandatory assemblies, the distribution and display of Bibles during classes, bible verses posted in hallways and shared in notes from school staff to students, prayers broadcast over loudspeakers at school sporting events, coaches leading or participating in prayer with student athletes and a large cross painted on the all of a school athletic facility. 

The complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee can be found here. The families are hoping to put an immediate end to the practices. 

For more information on the lawsuit, click here

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A New York City native and a graduate of the Mizzou School of Journalism, Ethan joined the WSMV Digital Team in June 2019. Send him story ideas, food recommendations and sports topics to Ethan.Illers@wsmv.com and follow him on Twiiter @EthanIllers_TV!

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