Pearland School District Stops Using Prayer to Open Meetings

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PEARLAND, Texas (AP) - Pearland school trustees have decided to stop using a prayer to open school board meetings. But they will allow members to take turns starting meetings with inspirational remarks, a moment of silence or a nonproselytizing prayer."

The plan appears to defuse tensions that began two weeks ago when trustee Suzy Roberts asked members to consider doing away with an opening prayer. She said she was concerned the district was vulnerable to lawsuits.

Since raising the issue, Roberts said she has been accused of being an atheist and of being against the Pledge of Allegiance.

Several trustees said they will continue to use an opening prayer when it is their turn to begin meetings.

An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer said he thought the new policy was lawful.