Because of the distinct risk of coercing students to participate in, or at least acquiesce to, religious exercises in the public school context, the Court finds the legislative exception does not apply to the policy and practice of prayer in Chino Valley School Board meetings.The court also invalidated the Board’s practice of praying reading from the Bible and making religious statements at various points in school board meetings. (Court's order). FFRF issued a press release announcing the decision.
Saturday, February 20, 2016
Prayer At School Board Meetings Governed By School Prayer Criteria
In Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education, (CD CA, Feb. 18, 2016), a California federal district court, in a 26-page opinion, held that invocations at school board meetings are governed by case law relating to school prayer, not by the line of cases on legislative prayer. Emphasizing that students regularly attend and make presentations at school board meetings, the court found the invocation policy unconstitutional, saying in part: