Court OK of student-led school board prayers to be appealed

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal appeals court in New Orleans will be asked to reconsider its ruling allowing student-led prayer at school board meetings. On Monday, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in a Texas case that such prayers don't run afoul of the prohibition against government-established religion. The American Humanist Association, a plaintiff in the case, disagreed.

High Court bolsters rights of learning-disabled students

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A unanimous Supreme Court on Wednesday bolstered the rights of millions of learning-disabled students in a ruling that requires public schools to offer special education programs that meet higher standards. The court struck down a lower standard endorsed by President Donald Trump's nominee to the high court. Chief Justice John Roberts said that it is not enough for school districts to get by with minimal instruction for special needs children.

Court: Student prayers OK at school board meetings

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A Texas school board can open its meetings with student-led public prayers without running afoul of the Constitution's prohibition against government-established religion, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit against the Birdville Independent School District.

Nonprofit head picked to manage takeover of failing schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's statewide school board is tapping the head of an education non-profit to run an experiment giving charter operators a shot at turning around struggling elementary schools. The State Board of Education said Thursday it hired Eric Hall to lead the new Achievement School District. Hall's job allows him to choose charter-operating companies to take over five schools that have consistently shown poor growth and performance.

Transgender student wants court ruling before graduation

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Attorneys for a transgender teenager who's suing his school board for the right to use the boys bathroom are asking that arguments be expedited so he might see a ruling before he graduates. The filing Wednesday in Gavin Grimm's case comes two days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order handing the case back to a Richmond appeals court without reaching a decision. The motion asks the 4th U.S.

City shows pitfalls of school choice as issue goes national

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Hailed nationally as a success story on school choice, Hartford in the two decades since a desegregation order has seen growing racial integration and new levels of academic achievement. That is, at least for students who win seats at magnet schools through a lottery. Traditional public schools still educate about half the city's children, but they are not moving in the same direction.

Politician who slammed Ramadan message under fire for slur

SPRING GROVE, Pa. (AP) -- A Pennsylvania politician who apologized for criticizing a church that wished Muslims a "blessed Ramadan" is under fire again -- this time for a slur referring to Mexicans on his Twitter page. Spring Grove school board member Matthew Jansen insisted his Twitter account was hacked and he was not responsible for the slur in a response to an illegal immigration article on Feb. 6.

Yelp to help customers find gender-neutral bathrooms

NEW YORK (AP) -- Yelp, the crowd-sourced company specializing in online reviews, is wading into the national debate over transgender people's bathroom access with a new feature that will enable consumers to search for businesses offering gender-neutral restrooms. In a blog post on Friday , Yelp said it would collect information from both customers and business owners in order to add a "Gender Neutral Restrooms" category to its listings.

Apple, IBM, Microsoft back transgender teen at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Apple, IBM and Microsoft are among 53 companies urging the Supreme Court to rule that a transgender teenager has the right to use the boys' bathroom at his Virginia high school. The businesses signed onto a brief filed Thursday in high school senior Gavin Grimm's lawsuit against the Gloucester (GLAH'-stur) County school board. Grimm says he wants to use the bathroom that matches his chosen gender.

Virginia school board: Court should delay transgender case

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Virginia school board that wants to keep a transgender teen from using the boys' restroom at his high school is calling on the Supreme Court to delay consideration of the case to allow the Trump administration to weigh in. A delay also could allow time for Senate confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

New Dem Party chairman Perez pledges to repair, unite party

ATLANTA (AP) -- Newly elected Democratic national chairman Tom Perez pledged on Sunday to unite a fractured party, rebuild at all levels from "school board to the Senate" and reach out to chunks of rural America left feeling forgotten in the 2016 election. Speaking in television interviews, Perez indicated that an important first step was joining with vanquished rival Minnesota Rep.

Update on the latest religion news

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS-HEALTH LAWSUIT Trump transgender reversal could affect health providers WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's reversal of his predecessor's directive to let transgender students use the public school bathrooms and showers of their choice could impact a lawsuit filed by Christian doctors and hospitals.

Supreme Court could decide transgender case. Or not.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Both the transgender teen who sued to use a boys' bathroom and the Virginia school board that won't let him still want the Supreme Court to issue a definitive ruling in their ongoing dispute, even after the Trump administration retreated from an Obama-era policy on bathroom use.

Justices side with Michigan girl in dispute over service dog

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with a 13-year-old Michigan girl with cerebral palsy who spent years battling school officials for the right to bring her service dog -- a goldendoodle named Wonder -- to class. The justices ruled unanimously that federal disability laws might allow Ehlena Fry to pursue her case in court without first having to wade through a lengthy administrative process.