Justices refuse to hear challenge to student-led prayers at school board meetings

Justices refuse to hear challenge to student-led prayers at school board meetings
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The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a case challenging a Texas school district’s longstanding practice of allowing students to lead a prayer at the start of each school board meeting where students are present.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the school board policy. The court said the presence of students at board meetings does not transform this into a school-prayer case and said the practice falls more closely within the recently reaffirmed legislative-prayer exception.

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The American Humanist Association and 2014 school district alumnus Isaiah Smith filed an appeal. They argued the Birdville Independent School District’s policy of inviting students to deliver statements, which can include invocations, before school board meetings violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another.

The justices did not give any explanation for denying a review of the case.