California school expels prayers (August 30, 2017)

A California elementary school will no longer be including prayers in its graduation ceremonies after receiving a warning from FFRF.

A concerned parent informed FFRF that an elementary graduation ceremony at Blochman Union School District in Santa Maria, Calif., included an invocation and benediction led by a local pastor.

The prayers had begun with the pastor instructing the audience to bow their heads in prayer, and had thanked and praised “Father God,” “Lord God,” and “Our Heavenly Father.” FFRF Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell wrote to the school district on June 29 requesting that future graduations do not include unconstitutional prayer.

Superintendent Doug Brown responded Aug. 30, assuring FFRF that both the invocation and benediction would be removed at future graduations.

Freedom From Religion Foundation