Group asks south Alabama school to keep prayer out of graduation

Group asks south Alabama school to keep prayer out of graduation

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A south Alabama high school has been told to stop using religion at its graduation services.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Opp City Schools calling on the system to no longer allow praying at graduation ceremonies.

It stems from Opp High School's baccalaureate service in the school's auditorium on May 21. The foundation says it's illegal for schools to endorse or schedule a service of this kind.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation said Principal Aaron Hightower led seniors in prayer.

The Foundation says religious activities were also added into the school's graduation ceremony.

"Opp City Schools has a legal duty to remain neutral toward religion. It makes no difference how many students want religious speeches or wouldn't be offended by them at their graduation," wrote Freedom From Religion Foundation Attorney Sam Grover. "A graduation should be a celebration for all students, not an exercise in alienating nonreligious students with a Christian message."

Opp City Schools Superintendent Michael Smithart says the letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation has been turned over to the school board's attorney for a response.

Smithart added there is no mention in the letter about a lawsuit.

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