Praying Parents

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The Praying Parents is a small, informal group started by parents in the Lakeview Elementary School ("Lakeview"), located near Tennessee. Lakeview is part of the Wilson County School System.

The parents would meet once a month to pray for the school, faculty, students, and staff. The Praying Parents group is not affiliated with any organization and does not promote a political agenda. The group was formed "to make an investment" in Lakeview through prayer.

The group would meet once each month in a partitioned area of the school cafeteria from 7:15 to 8:15 a.m., the first hour of the school day. The doors to the cafeteria are closed and no students, faculty, administrators or staff attend the Praying Parents meetings. Members of the group have access to the teacher's lounge to provide treats for the teachers to let them know that the group is praying for them. The Praying Parents have access to teacher mailboxes to leave prayer response cards and flyers promoting Praying Parents meetings for distribution to students, who ultimately take them home to their parents.

The Praying Parents advertise their meetings in the Eagle Eye, a Parent-Teacher Organization ("PTO") newsletter that is periodically distributed to students and taken home in student folders. On occasion their advertisements were edited to ensure they were nondenominational and of informational value to anyone interested in prayer, regardless of creed.

The ACLU of Tennessee sue to stop this activity. Defendants assert that the Praying Parents group has a secular purpose: to encourage parent involvement in the school's educational mission. The district court denied defendants' motion for summary judgment and the case is still pending as of the beginning of 2008. Doe v. Wilson County Sch. Sys., 524 F. Supp. 2d 964 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 9, 2007).