Mich. school ends prayer after FFRF intervenes (September 2023)

A Michigan school district has deleted Christian prayer from its senior award ceremony after FFRF conveyed the objection of parents to officials.

A Vicksburg Community Schools parent had informed the state/church watchdog that the May 2023 Vicksburg High School senior awards banquet, held at the high school, included two Christian prayers — one before the ceremony and one before dinner. The prayers were led by a district employee and the opening prayer was listed on the banquet’s program. Both prayers explicitly mentioned Jesus Christ and were overtly Christian.

“The Supreme Court has specifically struck down prayers given at public school events. Including explicitly Christian prayers as part of a school-sponsored awards banquet held on school property clearly crosses the line,” FFRF Legal Fellow Sammi Lawrence wrote to Superintendent Keevin O’Neill.

The school district’s legal counsel wrote back: “The district appreciates you bringing district parent concerns about these invocations to its attention. Please be advised that, from this point forward, the district will not incorporate invocations or prayers into school-sponsored events, like this reception.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation