Judge Rules South Carolina School District Cannot Allow Official Prayers or Religious Music at Their Graduation Ceremony

A district court judge ruled that a South Carolina school district cannot allow official prayers or religious music at their graduation ceremonies, bringing an end to a years-long legal battle.

Judge Bruce Hendricks of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Charleston Division issued an order on Thursday in the case of American Humanist Association et al v. Greenville County School District.

In his decision, Judge Hendricks issued a permanent injunction ordering that the school district, among other things, could not include a prayer “as part of the official program for a graduation ceremony.”

“The district also shall not include an obviously religious piece of music as part of the official program for a graduation ceremony,” wrote Hendricks.

“The district and/or school officials shall not encourage, promote, advance, endorse, or participate in causing prayers during any graduation ceremony.”

The judge also ruled that students giving remarks at ceremonies could under certain circumstances include a prayer or other religious content provided that no one else was asked to participate.

Further, the judge ordered that any programs or fliers for a ceremony featuring a student speaker must include a disclaimer that explains that the student’s remarks do not reflect the positions of the school district.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski