The following question appeared on my Religion and the Constitution exam in 2006.

Question I
(Suggested time: 60 minutes) (50 points out of 150 total exam points)

Granger Elementary School is a public school located in the Springdale School District.  Students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade attend the school.  Granger Elementary has a Facilities Use Policy which permits community-based nonprofit organizations to use school facilities after the end of the official school day if those facilities are not needed for school purposes.  The school also permits community organizations to distribute literature to students about afterschool educational and recreational programs suitable for elementary school students through the use of the intraschool mail system.   

The school day officially ends at 2:55 p.m. when school is dismissed, but the school sponsors various extracurricular activities after that hour including an afterschool day care program, music and drama instruction and several athletic activities.  The Facilities Use Policy allows community organizations to use the school building at the same time as these school-sponsored extracurricular activities on a space available basis.  Last year, the Child Worship Club (CWC) of Springdale sought permission to use the Granger Elementary School cafeteria for meetings of the CWC each Wednesday afternoon from 3 to 4 during the school year.  No other community organization currently utilizes space in the school building during that time period.  

The stated objectives of the Child Worship Club include cultivating self-esteem, character, and morals in children, and instructing children to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. A CWC brochure distributed to students via the intraschool mail system states:

The Child Worship Club is designed to serve boys and girls in grades one through five through Bible-oriented and character building learning and moral object lessons, as well as recreational activities.  Club activities include a snack, singing, playing learning games, memorizing Bible verses, listening to a Bible lesson and praying.

To participate in the CWC, a child must provide a signed permission slip from a parent.
Michael Morgan (MM), the principal of Granger Elementary, granted the request of the CWC to use the school cafeteria for its meetings.  To avoid disruption of the regular school dismissal procedures, he arranged for students enrolled in the Club to gather in a designated waiting area immediately inside the entrance to the school building.  CWC leaders meet Club participants at the waiting area and accompany them to the school cafeteria for the Club meeting.  The adult leaders of the CWC are two retired teachers who taught for many years at Granger Elementary School before retiring several years ago and becoming active in the CWC of Springdale.  During its first year of operation, 14 students signed up to participate in the CWC including 5 students in the first grade, 4 in the second grade, 3 in the third grade and 2 in the fourth grade.

The Granger Elementary School cafeteria is a large space filled with tables and chairs, a food preparation and storage area and a food service area.  A partition separates one corner of the cafeteria into a semi-private eating area.  The partition is a half wall so that persons seated in the semi-private area cannot be seen, but can be heard by other occupants of the cafeteria.  The CWC sought permission to use the semi-private area where it would be possible to have some privacy during its meetings, but also to provide students with a snack through the use of the cafeteria facilities.  Before permitting the CWC to use the school cafeteria, MM spoke with the teachers who operate the afterschool day care program.  On a typical day, approximately 50 students are enrolled in the day care program.  At 3:30 each afternoon, students in the day care program use the school cafeteria to eat a snack.  The principal was concerned that the simultaneous use of the cafeteria by the day care program and the CWC would create a conflict.  The teachers running the afterschool day care program assured the principal that they used only the main cafeteria area and not the semi-private area so both programs could use the cafeteria simultaneously.

Linda Lerner (LL) is the parent of a second grade student at Granger Elementary.  Her child participates in the afterschool day care program and he has told her that each Wednesday he hears Bible verses and Christian prayers while eating his snack in the school cafeteria.  LL has filed suit challenging the use of the school cafeteria for meetings of the Child Worship Club as a violation of the Establishment Clause.

You are a law clerk to the judge assigned to the case.  The judge has asked you to write an analysis of the Establishment Clause arguments available to LL in challenging the use of the Granger Elementary School cafeteria by the Child Worship Club as well as the arguments available to the Springdale School District in defending its right to permit use of the cafeteria by the CWC.