Prayers and religious terms removed from Texas public school graduation

By Reuters Staff
June 1, 2011

(High school graduates, 25 May 2007 /Chris Moncus)

A U.S. federal judge has ruled that a high school graduation in a suburb of San Antonio, Texas may not include an opening and closing prayer or the words “invocation” or “benediction.” District Judge Fred Biery ruled on Tuesday that using those words would make it sound like Castroville’s Medina Valley High School is “sponsoring a religion.”

“We think that the district has been flouting the law for decades,” said Ayesha Kahn, an attorney for Americans United for Church and State, which filed the lawsuit. “We’re glad that the court is going to put an end to it.”

No appeal of the ruling is planned, and the invocation and benediction will no longer take place, said Chris Martinez, assistant superintendent of the Medina Valley Independent School District. “Our entire school system is set up on following the rules, and we are going to do that,” Martinez told Reuters. “But this is one parent’s opinion of what we are doing. We don’t believe we have done anything wrong.”

Read the full story by Jim Forsyth here.

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