Prayer banned at Franklin County graduation

May 30, 2012 3:07:59 PM PDT
The Franklin County School Board held an emergency meeting Tuesday night to vote on banning prayer at this year's Franklinton High School graduation.

The board voted to ban prayer not only at the upcoming June 9 graduation but also at any future event sponsored by the school.

The ban on prayer comes after an unidentified, non-Christian, Franklinton High senior complained about a Christian-led prayer at an awards ceremony earlier this month. The student's parent complained to the American Civil Liberties Union which sparked Tuesday night's debate.

"They just wanted to be able to attend their commencement without feeling like an outcast," ACLU NC legal advisor Chris Brook said.

In the letter to board members, the ACLU warned it was unconstitutional to compel students to pray at government or school sponsored events.

One school board member told ABC11 that the prayer at graduation was deemed a clear violation of separation of church and state. The move has received criticism from students and alumni in the community.

"I'm a Christian and I believe in God, and I don't think it's fair," Franklinton High School senior Joel Williams said. "If someone complains that it's taking away their rights, well, it's taking away our rights to say a prayer in school."

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