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Court: Student prayers OK at school board meetings

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal appeals court says a Texas school board can continue to let students offer public prayers at its meetings.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit against the Birdville Independent School District. It was filed by the American Humanist Association and a graduate of Birdville High School.

In Monday's ruling, a three-judge 5th Circuit panel said student-led prayers for legislative bodies differ from prayers in public schools, which are deemed a violation of the First Amendment prohibition of government-established religion.

The panel noted a 2014 Supreme Court ruling allowing prayers at a town council meeting in Greece, New York, and said the prayers at the Birdville school board fall under that "legislative prayer exceptions."