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FFRF blocks Indiana school board prayer (July 3, 2012)

The South Dearborn School Board (Ind.) will no longer open its monthly meetings with a prayer, thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

A concerned school district parent informed FFRF that school board officials began each monthly meeting by reciting the Lord's prayer. These meetings are open to the public and often include young students from the district. Staff Attorney Stephanie Schmitt sent an April 20, 2012, letter to School Board President Daryl Cutter: "It is beyond the scope of a public school board to schedule prayer as part of its scheduled meetings." She added that federal courts have consistently struck down prayer by school officials in a public setting.

Schmitt wrote that "opening school board meetings with a Christian prayer discriminates not only against nonbelievers, but also against any non-Christian attendees. Parents and students should not be made to feel like outsiders when attending meetings."

An attorney for the school district responded on July 3: "In response to your letter of April 20, 2012, the School Board has discontinued the prayer at meetings."