When a school decided to end a 70-year tradition due to legal threats, students responded in a powerful way. The moment was caught on video (below).
At East Liverpool High School in Ohio, there has been a tradition for more than 70 years in which students stand up and sing "The Lord's Prayer" during their graduation ceremony.
After decades of keeping the tradition alive, the Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened legal action if the school continued the tradition. The FFRF is a nonprofit that advocates the separation of church and state. The organization says that the public school including the song or prayer in its graduation ceremony promotes religion, which violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
In response to the FFRF's legal threats, the school decided to pull the song from its graduation ceremony.
"It was a decision made because we don't have a lot of money and we'd rather hire teachers than pay lawyers," school board President Larry Walton told KFOR.
When seniors at the school heard about the decision, they were not happy. They wanted to carry on the tradition just like their families had for generations. Many students in the graduating class decided to take matters into their own hands, reports AWM.
After the class valedictorian welcomed everybody to the ceremony, students stood and started the prayer.
"It was totally spontaneous, apparently something the kids wanted to do," East Liverpool Superintendent Melissa Watson said. "I had no knowledge of it. The crowd seemed to support it."
Because the students decided to sing the prayer on their own terms, it is unclear whether the FFRF will take legal action.