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District won’t promote baccalaureate service (July 21, 2022)

FFRF got involved in Oregon after a concerned West Linn-Wilsonville School District community member reported that West Linn High School organized a baccalaureate service in its auditorium on June 5th.

The school advertised the event in its weekly “Roar” newsletter and mentioned the ceremony in its weekly address to the students. The service was open to all West Linn seniors and was described as “a spiritual and inspirational interfaith ceremony honoring the WLHS graduating class of 2022.” The ceremony program listed religious prayers, songs and speeches, such as “Faith and Perseverance” and “Living in Faith.”

FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line wrote to the district, stating that “The District’s role in promoting the baccalaureate ceremony would cause any reasonable graduating senior or parent to conclude that the West Linn-Wilsonville School District supported the religious messages espoused at these services.”

The district responded to FFRF to report that it would look into who is responsible for advertising the event, who was sponsoring it and make sure that it wouldn’t happen in the future.