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    Public School District Hit With Federal Lawsuit For Promoting Christian Prayer During Meetings

    The American Humanist Association is filing a federal First Amendment lawsuit against a Texas public school board and school district for regularly including Christian prayer in its public school board meetings.

     

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    Former Birdville Independent School District student student Isaiah Smith says that he felt “unwelcome,” and “violated and uncomfortable” during school board meetings, where the board would choose students to lead the prayer at the beginning of the meeting. Students and teachers regularly attend these meetings.

    “By beginning meetings with Christian prayers, the school board is sending a message that those of minority faiths, and of no faith, are not welcome,” Executive Director of the American Humanist Association Roy Speckhardt said in a statement.

    According to the lawsuit, this isn’t the only time that this district has violated the separation of church and state. They’ve sponsored religious baccalaureate ceremonies and have taken field trips to churches.

    Smith was also suspended for “carrying a ripped Bible as an act of peaceful protest against students who bullied him because of his sexual orientation.”

    Though the American Humanist Association’s legal center was able to get the school to clear his record, they’re still praying during school board meetings.

    “School sponsored Christian prayers at board meetings are discriminatory,” Appignani Humanist Legal Center lawyer Monica Miller said in a statement. “This practice is particularly egregious because it invites young, impressionable students to deliver the prayers.”

     

    Image by More Good Foundation via Flickr and a CC license
    Used for illustrative purposes only–persons depicted have no relationship to the article above.

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