CARTHAGE, TN (WSMV) - Smith County students gathered at a number of schools and in front of Carthage City Hall praying in defiance against a lawsuit filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"I don't know of anybody pressuring anyone into reading the bible," said Crystal Brown, who also prayed with the students on Tuesday.

Brown has two children in Smith County schools. She and her kids attended career day today at the Smith County Ag Center.

"All I know is what I teach my children at home, and what our beliefs are, I want them to continue that belief," said Brown.

The federal lawsuit was brought on by two Smith County families. It said Bible verses are posted in school hallways, Bibles are distributed during classes and prayers are broadcast over loudspeakers at school sporting events.

The ACLU sent News4 this statement, it said in part: “Public schools are suppose to be places where all students are welcomed, the religious freedom of Tennessee families, can only be protected, if the government is not promoting or sponsoring religious activity.”

The lawsuit has struck a nerve with many Smith County residents. It’s often been called a county where God and football reign. Brown said she has never heard of anyone being forced to pray in or around school grounds.

"My children have not told me about anything like that, they have not had any trouble with that in the school district," said Brown.

But Brown said she speaks for a majority of people in Smith County.

"Prayer is important to us," she said. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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Alan Frio is the anchor of News4's evening newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays.

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