Prayer removed from Mo. graduation ceremonies (June/July 2024)

FFRF has successfully stopped a longstanding tradition of including prayers at graduation ceremonies in the Kennett School District in Missouri.

FFRF learned that Kennett High School graduation ceremonies include an invocation as an official part of the program. In the 2023 graduation ceremony, a prayer was delivered to the “Heavenly Father.” Similar prayers commenced graduation ceremonies from 2017 to 2022, delivered to “Lord” or “God” as well.

“Public school students have a constitutional right to be free from religious indoctrination in their public schools,” FFRF Patrick O’Reiley Legal Fellow Hirsh Joshi wrote to the district.

The district’s legal representative, Natalie A. Hoernschemeyer, wrote back to FFRF, confirming that action had been taken. “The district undertook a comprehensive review of its policies and procedures for its high school graduation ceremonies. Following this review, the district is changing the structure of its high school graduation ceremonies. Going forward, the district is removing the student-led invocation from its high school graduation ceremonies.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation