It's been an ongoing two-year battle but a California public school board has caved to an atheist group over the use of religion at public meetings.
Chino Valley Unified School District has dropped its legal battle with Freedom From Religion Foundation, voting to limit prayers and Bible citations, and allowing religious references if faith pertains to an item on the board's agenda.
Chino Valley, located in San Bernadino County, has approximately 32,000 students.
Brad Dacus and the Pacific Justice Institute originally defended the school board, and he says the law would be on the school's side if it was sued.
"Here we're dealing with a school board who had a very strong position to prevail on this matter if they were sued," he insists, "and to be able to take this to the United States Supreme Court and likely win."
That makes the school board's decision "disheartening," he tells OneNewsNow.
Yet a U.S. district judge in February ruled the prayers are unconstitutional and the board, on the advice of new legal counsel, adopted the limiting resolution to compromise with the atheist group.
The board was fearful Chino could incur $200,000 in legal fees if a decision in a lawsuit went against them.
Dacus says Freedom From Religion Foundation deserves the blame for being a "bully" that convinces local governments they're not allowed to exercise their rights under the U.S. Constitution.