The Riverside School District, located in Lake City, Arkansas, recently announced the cancellation of its 6th grade graduation ceremonies after a parent objected to the inclusion of Christian prayers (video below).
According to FoxNews.com, the public school district made the decision after being contacted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which said it was acting on behalf of an unidentified “concerned parent.”
Sixth grade parent Kelly Adams (pictured) said that a group of Christian parents are going to find a church that will host a substitute graduation with Christian prayers.
Adams told KAIT-TV that the town was "mainly Christian" and that "a lot of people were hurt that our rights were taken away."
“We just went to take a stand for God because we felt like out rights were taken away,” Adams added. “I realize they have rights too, but you can’t take rights away from one group and give it to another.”
“We are including everyone, everyone is invited [to the substitute graduation], we want everyone to come and be a part of it. We’re not trying to be pushy or ugly to anybody, we just want them to know there is a God who loves them.”
However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that only student-led prayers are allowed in public schools, not prayers instigated by adults.
“Those campuses for the last several years had discussed whether we should continue with sixth grade graduation or not. The controversy arose out of this one. When it came to my attention, the board and I decided to go ahead and discontinue sixth grade graduations," Tommy Knight, the superintendent of the Riverside School District, told FoxNews.com.
“It makes no difference how many families want prayer or wouldn’t be offended by prayer at their graduation ceremony,” FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott stated. “The Supreme Court has settled this matter. School graduations must be secular to protect the freedom of conscience of all students.”
Source: KAIT-TV and FoxNews.com