Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lone Atheist Muzzles Penn. Students at Graduation

There will be no invocation or benediction at commencement ceremonies at Pottsgrove High School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania this year because last year a single, anonymous complaint frightened school officials into a panic.  As a result, constitutionally-protected, student-initiated Christian free speech has been officially banned.
"The decision was made after last year's graduation when a student went off script from the nondenominational prayer that has been done over the years and turned it into a very Christian prayer."
-- Rick Rabinowitz, school board president

"It was offensive to someone else in the audience and it was reported to me that it was offensive and religious in nature and that we should stop it."
-- Shellie A. Feola, Superintendent
For background, read the never-ending assault on public schools by atheists and the ACTUAL recent Supreme Court rulings.

Also read Atheists Can't Stop Prayer at Graduations, Judge Rules

Click headlines below to read previous articles:

Atheists Nix Ohio Graduation Choir Tradition

Atheists Help Liberal Schools Ban Christmas Choirs

Lone Jew, ACLU Stop Prayer in Pennsylvania Town

Pennsylvania School Staff to Mosque for Islamic Training

First-grade Christian Censored, Pennsylvania School Sued

Washington School Football Coach Forced to Stop Praying AFTER Games

However, a Kentucky School Supt. Backs Prayer vs. Atheists

-- From "No invocation, benediction at Pottsgrove High commencement" by Gabbie O'Grady, Reading Eagle 5/27/16

Justin Valentine was school board president during 2015 graduation and said a complaint from another board member was the reason prayer was pulled.

"What happened was there was one person, one complaint that we received, and that's what triggered this," he said. "We knew the driving force behind this not happening again."

Valentine declined to identify the individual.

Current board member Patricia Grimm was also on the board in August when the decision on prayer was made.

"To me, it's (prayer) student driven," she said. "This is a tradition we always have regardless of the law and this is what the students want. I know there was a lot of discussion about the student going off of his intended speech but there was only one complaint."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Ending of graduation prayer at Pottsgrove High School debated" by Evan Brandt, Pottstown Mercury 5/26/16

The change apparently is the result of one student’s decision to invoke Jesus Christ in his comments at last year’s graduation.

As a result, [Supt.] Feola consulted the district’s longtime Solicitor Marc Davis, who told her a 2000 ruling in California made the district’s practice illegal.

. . . although the decision was made in August, it did not become a public discussion until Thursday, part of discussion on Facebook — particularly among board members, and two former school board presidents.

“This is very disappointing to me too,” wrote board member Bill Parker. “While the district, due to case law, can not direct that there be a prayer as part of the ceremony, we can also not violate freedom of speech.”

Mike Neiffer, who served as school board president prior to Valentine and acknowledged that there are legal issues to be considered, posted “I think the issue is that the change doesn’t appear to have been discussed in public nor was the public allowed to comment on it. As for me, let the students decide. It’s their graduation.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Prayer Banned in Washington Town — Nobody Cares