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Louisiana school board a target of second religion suit


NEW ORLEANS (RNS) — For the second time in as many months, a parent has launched a federal lawsuit against the Tangipahoa School Board over religion, this time objecting to a teacher-led prayer delivered at a high school graduation ceremony.

The suit was filed June 6 in U.S. District Court in New Orleans. It marks the sixth court case in 13 years by the American Civil Liberties Union against the same school district involving matters of religion, according to Joe Cook, executive director of Louisiana’s branch of the ACLU.

Plaintiffs for the case include John “P,” who is proceeding on behalf of his minor children Jane “P” and Joan “P,” both of whom are students in the school system, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs took action after attending a graduation ceremony for the Tangipahoa PM High School in Hammond, La., on May 17.

At the ceremony, Anthony Massi, a faculty member at PM High School, gave a prayer that began with “Lord we thank you for ...” and ended with “We pray for these things in Jesus’ name, Amen,” the suit states. John “P,” who is Catholic, found the invocation “offensive and objectionable” because it served to advance only one faith or belief: Christianity, the suit claims.