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Federal Court Says Student-Led Prayer at School Board Meetings Is OK

03-23-2017
Hands Praying
Hands Praying

A federal appeals court has ruled that a Texas school board can open its meetings with student led prayer. 

Since 1997, the Birdville school board has allowed students to open board meetings with prayer, often referring to Jesus Christ and inviting audience members to pray.

The American Humanist Association said the prayers were a violation of the student's constitutional rights, but the 5th Circuti Court of Appeals disagreed. 

The court ruled that the school board members were protected by "qualified immunity" and dismissed the case the AHA brougth against them. 

The appeals court cited Supreme Court precedent that permits prayers at state and local legislative meetings.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, says the ruling is a "stinging rebuke to groups that want to cleanse America of prayer."

"We commend the court's decision that upheld the school board's prayer practice and rejected the American Humanist Association's attempt to eradicate prayer from the board meetings," Staver said.

Monica Miller, a lawyer for AHA, said they are reviewing their options and will continue to pursure the case. 

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