The Freedom From Religion Foundation stopped Tahlequah High School from conducting an unconstitutional prayer at the graduation ceremony.
Nonreligious students at the high school, in Tahlequah, Okla., became alarmed when instructions for the 2013 ceremony requested male students remove their hats for prayer. FFRF had previously contacted the high school after the 2012 graduation included unlawful student-led. The school’s administration had responded that future graduations would not include prayer.
FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel contacted Tahlequah Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Presley on May 13, 2013, asking her to keep her promise not to include religious rituals in the graduation ceremony.
“The District cannot instruct any students on how to worship or whether to revere another’s worship,” Seidel wrote. “The student who contacted us is understandably upset that their school is so steeped in religion and so unwilling to adhere to the First Amendment.”
Presley responded in a May 15 letter that the instructions had been changed and redistributed. The graduation did not include prayer, as required by two rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court on the subject of commencement prayer.