Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Emanuel County School System

109 F.Supp.3d 1353 (2015)


Ps filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that County (Ds) violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by endorsing prayer in a public school classroom. Ps seek both declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as an award of compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys fees, and court costs. Two days after filing their initial complaint, the four individual plaintiffs -- the parents of children enrolled in kindergarten and the first grade at the Swainsboro Primary School, and the two students themselves -- sought leave of court to proceed using pseudonyms rather than their actual names in this litigation. Ps contend that the teachers not only continued to lead prayer in the classroom, they began to punish the 'Doe' children for not participating by making them sit in the hallway while the rest of the class prayed, trying to persuade them to ignore their parents and join in the class prayers, and assuring one child that her mother was 'a bad person for not believing in God.' Ps also claimed their children had been bullied and singled out. Ps contend that this is the type of case where they must remain anonymous or else suffer reprisal from the broader community, a reprisal that they fear will be far worse than what these young children have already experienced.