Have spoken before about invocations particularly offered at school board meetings, where the audience can quite often include children. At the time, in the year 2010, ONLY GRISD had partisan prayer. Somervell County Commissioners Court, as led by Danny Chambers, is the only other entity that regularly flouts the constitution. For a time, Somervell County Hospital District did it, but discontinued the practice several months ago.
Why is it particularly egregious that Glen Rose ISD does this? The board members sometimes do the prayer from the dais, but more than that, again, school children are not adults who can decide whether they want to be included in a partisan prayer, particularly if they are at a meeting to receive an award or do a presentation. This looks different than when students led prayers themselves directed TO the board, in the Birdville case.If the school board choosed to hae invocations, they have to open it up to anyone, not simply area ministers, to offer one up, and it definitely does not look constitutional for a board member to do the invocation him or herself.
p 1 According to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the government is prohibted from establishing a religion. This means that the government must maintain strict neutrality, neither aiding nor opposing religion. The U.S. Supreme Court has exercised special vigilance over complaince with the Establishment Clause in elementary and secondary schools because "(f)amilies entrust public schools with the education of their children, but condition their trust on the understanding that the classroom will not purposely be used to advance religious views that may conflict with the private beliefs of the student and his or her family.". This ban on the government establishing a religion is precisely why opening a school board meeting with a prayer is so controversial.
p 4. In its opinion, the Court acknowledged that whether a government body has compelled its citizens to engage in a religious observance is a fact-sensitive question that requires consideration of both the setting in which the prayer arises and the audience to whom it is directed. The Court concluded that the principal audience for the invocations before the town was not the public but the lawmakers themselves. ...
Not school board members doing the prayer FROM the dais.
The citizens were free to leave the room during the invocation- a choice, the Court said, that did not represent an unconstitutional imposition on mature adults.
Not children... mature adults.
In its opinion (Town of Greece) the court noted that the Supreme Court has not extended Marsh to non-legislative prayer practice. Indeed, the court cited instances in which courts have not applied the Marsh analysis, including prayer at school board meetings, as evidence of how rarely courts should apply the Marsh analysis.
p 5. The legal risks associated with the practice are obvious- courts around the country, and even in our own Fifth Circuit, are not consistent in their analysis. Choosing not to pray at school board meetings allows a school district to avoid the time and expense of confronting a legal challenge.
Jan 23 2017 invocation Pastor Bill from a baptist church, christian prayer AUDIO
Feb 27 2017 Invocation John Farr(?) to come up and lead us in invocation AUDIO
March 27 2017 Invocation Dennis Moore, pastor AUDIO
April 20 2017 Invocation by board member Andy Snow from the dais AUDIO
May 23 2017 Invocation by Reverend (Voss) Stonewater Church AUDIO