Suit challenges high school graduation prayer policy

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

The Freedom From Religion Foundation announced Wednesday that it, along with one of its members who is a graduating senior at Irmo High School, has filed a federal lawsuit suit against a South Carolina school district challenging the district’s policy that allows a student vote each year on whether or not to have prayer at the high school graduationceremony.  The complaint (full text) in Nielson v. School District Five of Lexington & Richland Counties, (D SC, filed 5/30/2012), alleges that the policy violates the Establishment Clause and Equal Protection Clause. The district superintendent had told plaintiff, when he complained about the policy: “while I am a staunch supporter of the separation of Church and State, I do not believe that Freedom of Religion should be interpreted as requiring Freedom from Religion within the public schools.” Cranston Patch reports on the lawsuit.