Monday, November 14, 2011

Non-School Graduation Prayer 'A Sham' Says ACLU

Many years ago, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska threatened Lakeview High School in Columbus, Nebraska over prayers at the graduation ceremony, so the school ended its involvement in commencement in favor of a private graduation event. The ACLU now says this maneuver to allow prayer to continue is equally illegal.

-- From "American Civil Liberties Union Sends Letter About Prayer, School Board To Consult Attorney" by The Associated Press 11/14/11

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska sent a letter to the school district earlier this month that said the ceremonies violate students' First Amendment religious rights.

Lakeview superintendent Russ Freeman said that the district will take up the issue with its attorney at Monday night's school board meeting. He declined further comment.

The ACLU also complained about the ceremonies in 2001, so the district classified graduation as a parent-run event to allow for prayers.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "ACLU Demands Prayers Stop at Neb. Schools" posted at 11/4/11

Officials with Lakeview Community Schools in Columbus, Neb., were told to stop holding a high school graduation ceremony that subjects students to "unconstitutional religious messages," according to an ACLU press release.

The ACLU said district materials show the ceremonies carry an overwhelming message that the prayers are endorsed by the school district.

Superintendent Russ Freeman responded to the ACLU, saying parents run the ceremonies. He said he doesn't believe the district has done nothing wrong.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "ACLU wants Columbus Lakeview to stop prayers at graduation" by Margaret Reist, Lincoln Journal Star 11/3/11

"The current ceremony coercively subjects students to religious messages as the price of attending high school commencement," ACLU Nebraska Legal Director Amy Miller said in a news release. "This leaves some students and their families feeling like second-class participants at their own graduation."

"It is perfectly acceptable to have a truly private graduation ceremony as a supplement to the official, school-sponsored event," Miller said. "What is happening at Lakeview High is a sham separation and, therefore, unconstitutional."

Miller said although Lakeview's ceremony is unconstitutional, voluntary, student-led religious practices are protected by the Constitution and defended by the ACLU.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.