The Tangipahoa Parish, La., school board unanimously agreed last week to change the word “prayer” to “invocation” in its practice on prayers before board meetings, a policy under challenge in a federal court lawsuit.
The board’s lawyer in the federal case, Mike Johnson of the Alliance Defense Fund, requested the changes, Assistant Superintendent Thomas Bellavia told a policy committee.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the board on behalf of unnamed parents last year to challenge the constitutionality of opening prayers said at board meetings. Since that suit was filed, the board has changed its prayer policy three times on the recommendations of legal counsel.
A version of this article appeared in the December 16, 2009 edition of Education Week as La. School Board Shifts Policy On Prayers as Trial Looms