Manatee School Board Settles on School Prayers

May 23, 2004

Source: The First Amendment Center

On May 23, 2004 The First Amendment Center reported, "The Manatee County School Board has settled a federal lawsuit against its practice of saying Christian prayers before meetings. The agreement, which only one member voted against, mirrors guidelines the board set in August. It allows the board to open meetings with a nonsectarian invocation. A court must approve the settlement. Steven and Carol Rosenauer, who are Jewish, sued the school board in federal court in February over what they described as the persistent use of Christian prayers at board meetings, in violation of the district’s own policy and the U.S. Constitution. The couple has spent nearly a year fighting to stop a decades-old practice of opening meetings with the Lord’s Prayer. They asked a federal judge for an injunction against the board reciting any prayers to open meetings. After the Rosenauers first threatened to sue, the board invited clergy to deliver nonsectarian invocations, but most included Christian references. The settlement is a way of forcing the board to follow its guidelines, said Steven Rosenauer."