North Dakota OKs bill allowing 'student-initiated prayer'

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota legislators have endorsed a measure that says students can't be prohibited from participating in any "student-initiated prayer" at a public or nonpublic school.

The Senate unanimously passed the measure Friday, following House approval a day earlier.

Backers say it's in response to a prayer not being allowed to be broadcast over the public address system at a football game two years ago between two Roman Catholic high schools. Because it was a playoff game, it was overseen by the state high school association, which didn't allow the pre-game prayer to be broadcast based on a 2000 Supreme Court decision.

The legislation doesn't address broadcasting a prayer, and high school association spokesman Brian Bubach says the bill won't change the group from barring prayer over a loudspeaker.

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