The state of Alabama created a law that authorized teachers to conduct regular religious prayer services and activities in school classrooms during the school days. A man named Ishmael Jaffree had three children who attended public schools in Mobile, Alabama. He filed a lawsuit against the state saying that the law intended to establish religion in the schools. This was against the students’ first amendment rights by establishing religion in the school. He said that the children had been taught specific prayers including “The Lord’s Prayer” and “God is Great, God is Good”.
The students were asked to recite prayers in place of a moment of silence. If the students refused to participate, they got teased. He said that the law was not being followed as it was written. A man named Wallace said that the law called for only a moment of silence.
He also said that it did not require a child to pray at all. The students at the school did not have to say the prayers. He said that the school had no control over the children who were teasing the kids who didn’t say the prayers.The District Court said that the Alabama law was only an effort to bring back voluntary prayers to the public schools. They also said that the evidence of the rule’s intent was confirmed by a consideration of the relationship between other Alabama rules. One of these rules, which was enacted in 1982 as a sequel to § 16-1-20.1 rule for the period of silence for meditation, gave teachers permission to lead students who were willing to in a prescribed prayer.
The other rule that was enacted in 1978, as § 16-1-20. l’s predecessor, gave the permission to teachers to give a period of silence for meditation only. The State’s endorsement, by the enactment of the § 16-1-20.1 rule, of prayer activities at the beginning of each schoolday is not consistent with the principle that was established before.
The District Court also said that the government must pursue a course of complete neutrality toward religion.