Case No. 13-5957 (U.S. District Court, Eastern District, Knoxville, Judge Phillips)
Plaintiff: Steve B. Smith
Plaintiff-Appellees: David Kucera; Vickie F. Fogerty
After a budget shortfall, the Jefferson County school board closed its alternative school and contracted with a church and religious school to run the county’s alternative school program. Students involuntarily sent to the alternative school were subjected to religious messages and assemblies in the school’s chapel.
Several teachers sued, asserting that this arrangement violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and Jefferson County appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
ACLU-TN filed an amicus brief arguing that the funding arrangement violated the Establishment Clause.
The Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court ruling, finding that the arrangement did not amount to government endorsement of religion.