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S.C. academy graduations will now be secular (December 2023)

FFRF has ensured that the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy will no longer force prayer at future graduation ceremonies. An academy parent has reported that the school included Christian prayer and preaching as part of its graduation exercises on May 26. The complainant described the graduation ceremony as a Christian church service. They reported that there was a prayer at the beginning that quoted the New Testament, a guest speaker who spoke about God and included quotes from the New Testament and a prayer at the end. The complainant also reported that the “Law Enforcement Code of Ethics” included on the graduation program requires graduates to “dedicate [themselves] before God.” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line contacted Academy President Lewis J. Swindler Jr. regarding the situation. Swindler responded, indicating that future graduation ceremonies would be secular. “Please allow this to serve as written assurance that future graduation ceremonies will not include scheduled prayers or other religious exercises,” he wrote.