Mothers suing over religious-themed songs

July 23, 2009 at 12:26 PM
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., July 23 (UPI) -- Two mothers allege in a lawsuit against the school board for St. Johns County, Fla., their children should not have been taught songs with religious themes.

The Jacksonville (Fla.) Times-Union said Thursday the mothers, identified only as S.D. and M.P. in the U.S. District Court lawsuit, allege the St. Johns County School Board violated their children's First Amendment rights through the musical teachings.

The mothers' lawsuit also names other education officials including Superintendent John Joyner and George Leidigh, the principal of Webster School.

Attorneys for the school board have already presented motions for a dismissal of the suit to Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger.

Schlesinger has ruled the song, "In God We Still Trust," that was taught to St. Johns County students did violate students' First Amendment rights, the Times-Union reported.

Based on that ruling, the judge issued a temporary order against the teaching of the song. The ongoing legal battle now focuses on the African-American folk song, "Chatter With the Angels," that was also taught to students in the county.

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