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ACLU Attorney Objects to Settlement Characterization

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  WMOT News told you yesterday about the American Civil Liberties Union and the Sumner County Board of Education settling a law suit claiming the system was promoting Christianity.

In a consent decree announced earlier this week schools officials agreed to a long list of changes.  However, David French, the attorney who represented the school system in the case, downplayed the scope of those changes when he spoke with WMOT.

"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."

Attorney George Barrett, who represented the ACLU in the case, objected to that characterization when he spoke with WMOT.

"Well, I respectfully disagree. What I think that the school board has admitted, is that it has in effect violated the First Amendment rights of all the students by taking a particular religious idea, or sect, and espousing that as above all others being something desirable that everybody should have."

Barrett says he believes Sumner County Schools will honor the consent decree, but also says students and parents involved in the case will let him know if problems persist.