School Prayer: A Community at War

A Mississippi mother of six sues her school district to remove prayer and religious instruction from public schools.

Premiere Date
July 20, 1999
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2000 Jan Karski Documentary Film Awards-Jan Karski Film Award
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2001 News and Documentary Emmy Awards-Best Coverage of a Continuing News Story
  • Grunberg slawomir filmmaker bio

    Slawomir Grunberg

    Slawomir Grünberg is a documentary producer, director, cameraman, and editor whose work has frequently appeared on PBS. He received an Emmy Award for his first P.O.V. presentation, School Prayer: A Community at War. He is a graduate of the prestigious Polish Film School in Lodz, Poland and emigrated from Poland to the US in 1981. He has since shot and produced more than 40 television documentaries. His independent works focus on critical social and political issues and have won him international recognition. Slawomir has also been a contributing director of photography and editor for the PBS’ series Frontline, NOVA, American Masters, AIDS Quarterly with Peter Jennings, Health Quarterly, People’s Century, and the Lifetime Channel and HBO.


    Ben Crane

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    The Film

    The battle cry on both sides is religious freedom when a Mississippi mother protests mandatory prayer in her children's public school. While most of Pontotoc County rallies to preserve a cornerstone of their faith, Lisa Herdahl is a lone voice calling for the separation of church and state. Raising complex questions about tolerance and tradition, School Prayer chronicles a clash of principles in which the Constitutional right of an individual collides with the fundamental beliefs of the majority.