FFRF gave Ashlynn a $1,000 Cliff Richards Memorial Student Activist Award.
Over the last few years, FFRF has sent several complaints to Willard, Mo., School District Superintendent Kent Medlin regarding his Establishment Clause violations. The most recent case involves his speech to the 2017 Willard High School graduates, in which he abused his position of authority to promote his religion.
By Ashlynn Bradley
Graduation is a huge deal to all of the students, as well as to the teachers, family members and community members who have helped us get this far.
However, during the graduation ceremony, our school's superintendent didn't use his time to give a speech that encouraged the students, but instead spent the time worshipping his savior.
Throughout his speech, Superintendent Medlin referenced Jesus Christ, God, and the New Testament, as well as informing us that all of our successes could be attributed to the Lord.
He even invited any student who had yet to find the Lord to stop by his office so he could share God's love and gospel. He then invited the students and audience to stand up and pray, if they wanted. That left only a handful of us sitting down, which completely ostracized us. The prayer lasted roughly three minutes, which was three minutes too long.
Not only did he show blatant disregard for the law and the Constitution, he also ignored many of his students' pleas to refrain from a prayer for that exact reason. So a few fellow students and I took action. We went to our local newspaper and reported the story, as well as filed complaints with civil liberties groups to help us take action against his unconstitutional actions.
My name is Ashlynn Bradley and I recently graduated from Willard High School in southwest Missouri. I was secretary and head of public relations for Student Government Association, a member of Foreign Language Club, Diversity Club, Paws, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, as well as president of Science Club. I even founded the Cryptozoology Club! I was also active in my school's art program and I played soccer, participated in track and field, and was on our school's dance team. I will be attending Colorado State University and am planning to go into the pre-med program.