CVUSD Sued Over Board’s Constant Religious References

(December 4)  The Chino Valley Unified School District has been sued by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and more than 20 unnamed local plaintiffs over the district’s practice of engaging in Christian prayer and Bible readings at school board meetings.
The suit seeks the discontinuation of prayer and religious references during the conducting of official district business.
Referenced specifically in the suit are board president James Na and trustee Andrew Cruz, who are said to pepper their discussions of issues at board meetings with Christian homilies and scripture readings.
The suit was filed by Andrew Seidel, an attorney for Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of several unnamed local plaintiffs.
Seidel said he wants the district to discontinue preaching by the board’s members and their promotion of religion.
According to Seidel, the religious references went well beyond invocations, which have been deemed acceptable by the courts, to create an atmosphere in which individuals who do not profess the Christian faith felt uncomfortable.
For some time, some members of the public who attend board meetings and other district events have remarked upon the degree to which religious references were becoming a part of official proceedings.
Pastor Jack Hibbs of the Calvary Chapel of Chino Hills denounced the lawsuit as the work of the Devil and his agents seeking to remove God from the public education process. The Calvary Chapel of Chino Hills has both junior high and high school ministries.
Chino Police Chief Miles Pruitt said he believes his rights and beliefs are being abridged by those who would prevent him and others from engaging in prayer at school functions.
One parent said she did not begrudge anyone his or her own beliefs, but felt that district officials were creating a circumstance in which members of the public who attended district meetings and events felt they were ostracized if they did not profess Christian beliefs.

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