Saturday, May 28, 2011

Graduation Prayers From High School To Kindergarten Generate Complaints

Americans United announced Friday that it had filed a lawsuit challenging a Texas school district's plan to officially include prayers in its graduation ceremony, scheduled for June 4.  The complaint in Schultz v. Medina Valley Independent School District, (WD TX, filed 5/26/2011) requests emergency relief, alleging that the planned student-led  invocation and benediction violate U.S. Supreme Court precedent under the Establishment Clause. UPDATE: Reuters reported that on May 31, the court ruled that the graduation ceremony may not include an opening or closing prayer and the ceremony may not include presentations called an "invocation" or "benediction". The school does not plan to appeal the ruling. UPDATE2: Subsequently the San Antonio Express News reported that Medina Valley High School officials are appealing the court's ruling.

Meanwhile, the Freedom from Religion Foundation said in a press release yesterday that it has sent a letter (full text) to the Giles County, Tennessee, Director of Schools complaining about a two-minute sectarian prayer by a local clergyman at the kindergarten graduation at Pulaski Elementary School.  Apparently prayer is traditional at the school's kindergarten graduations. The school principal introduced the clergyman who then offered the prayer which ended with the words "in the name of Jesus Christ." [Thanks to Alliance Alert for the lead.]