U.S. Appeals Court Rules California School Board’s Prayers Unconstitutional


A U.S. appeals court says a Southern California school board’s policy of opening meetings with a prayer is unconstitutional in part because the prayers often invoke Christianity.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education could accomplish its goals of solemnizing board meetings and showing respect for religious diversity without prayer.

The decision came in a lawsuit filed against the district by parents, students, employees and a nonprofit group that fights for the separation of church and state. The 9th Circuit upheld a lower court ruling banning the prayers.

The district is based in Chino, a city 35 miles east of Los Angeles.

A message for an attorney who represented the district was not immediately returned.