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AHLC to Present Oral Arguments in Case Against Texas School Board Prayers

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Contact: Patrick Hudson, 202-238-9088,

Monica Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 120,

On February 7, 2017, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center will present oral arguments in its lawsuit against Birdville Independent School District in Haltom City, Texas, challenging its practice of opening school board meetings with prayers by students.

WHEN: February 7, 2017, 9:00 am.

WHERE: The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the En Banc Courtroom. The courthouse is located at 100 Derbigny St., Gretna, Louisiana, 70053.

WHO: Monica Miller, senior counsel of the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, will present the oral arguments and will be available to speak with the media.

WHAT: The American Humanist Association’s lawsuit against the Birdville Independent School District and its board members challenges the district’s practice of including prayer in school board meetings. School officials also actively encourage and participate in those prayers with the students. The American Humanist Association argues that the prayers are school-endorsed and coercive, in violation of the Establishment Clause. The lawsuit was filed in May 2015 on behalf of Isaiah Smith, an alumnus of the school district, and the American Humanist Association.

MORE INFORMATION: The American Humanist Association’s statement when the original complaint was filed can be viewed here, and a copy of the complaint can be viewed here. The American Humanist Association’s statement upon announcing the appeal to the Fifth Circuit can be viewed here.

Members of the media interested in covering the oral arguments should contact Patrick Hudson, communications assistant, at


Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

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