Illegal graduation “invocations” impeded (June 17, 2014)

Thanks to FFRF intervention, future graduations at Bremen City High School in Bremen, Ga., will not include prayer. So too, a religious photo of prayer has been removed from the Bremen City Schools Facebook page.

On May 24, Bremen City High School’s graduation ceremony included opening and closing prayers. Each of the prayers lasted several minutes and addressed the Christian, “Heavenly Father, we thank you.”

FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel wrote a letter to the District on June 6, pointing to two Supreme Court cases which ensure that: “School officials may not invite a student, teacher, faculty member, or clergy to give any type of prayer, invocation, or benediction at a public high school graduation.” Seidel also cited other recent violations occurring in the same district — including a photo of the football team praying on the district webpage and an elementary school vice president leading a group of kindergarteners in prayer — suggesting “a systemic problem with prayer at Bremen City Schools. It appears that the district staff members are unaware of or blatantly disregarding the law surrounding school prayer.”

The District responded on June 17 to guarantee that, “the phrase ‘invocation’ will not be used in next year’s graduation program.” Additionally, the “Superintendent has removed that photo” in question. 

Freedom From Religion Foundation