Ohio school district ends graduation prayer (August 9, 2022)

A concerned district parent reported to FFRF that a teacher had delivered a Christian prayer during Ottawa (Ohio) Elementary School’s eighth-grade graduation ceremony.

“Requiring nonreligious students and attendees to make a public showing of their nonbelief by not participating in a prayer or else to display deference toward a religious sentiment in which they do not believe is coercive, embarrassing and intimidating,” FFRF Legal Fellow Karen Heineman wrote to Ottawa-Glandorf Local Schools Superintendent Don Horstman.

A response from the district assured FFRF that the issue will be taken care of.

“I want to let you know that I have informed the Board of Education and our administrative team of your email, and I informed all of them that the district has clear guidance and policies against this type of activity,” Horstman responded. “I can assure you this will not be a part of the program at Ottawa Elementary going forward.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation