Graduations In Churches – 2012 Update

Last week, Citizens Project sent letters to local public high schools that are hosting their 2012 graduation ceremonies at churches to let them know of potential church/state separation conflicts that might arise from their venue selection.

We sent similar letters last year and met with several schools to ensure their site selection processes were in full compliance with legal precedent.

An excerpt from the letter:

“We at Citizens Project recognize that many factors are at play when selecting a site for high school graduations, and we trust that this year’s location was selected based on availability, cost and location.

As you may know, in 2010 a federal district court in Connecticut determined that holding graduation ceremonies in religious environments violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and there is significant legal precedent to substantiate this finding. See Does v. Enfield Public Schools; Musgrove v. Brevard County School Board; Lemke v. Black; Spacco v. Bridgewater School Department.”

At Citizens Project, we believe that every student has a right to a quality, religiously neutral public education spanning from kindergarten to graduation. Citizens Project supports our local schools through our education programs, including our annual Citizens’ Religious Freedom Institute and targeted outreach, such as our December Dilemma mailing about best practices to protect students’ religious freedom around the holidays. These programs help schools, teachers, and administrators create inclusive academic environments and save taxpayer money by decreasing exposure to unnecessary litigation.

To report an incident in your school, please contact us.


2 Replies to "Graduations In Churches - 2012 Update"

  • G Reichel
    May 25, 2012 (3:22 pm)
    Reply

    That is really dismaying that any school does that!
    So I’m left to wonder what school?!

    • admin
      May 26, 2012 (8:11 am)
      Reply

      Several schools host their ceremonies in churches; most of them are smaller schools that don’t have their own auditoriums and are too small for the larger venues. You can view all local graduations here.


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