In Ohio, East Liverpool High School’s class of 2016 unanimously chose to stand up against a district’s decision to permanently take out the Lord’s Prayer from their graduation ceremony.
The issue was brought up when a parent complained about the tradition to the district, along with a letter from Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), according to WFMJ news.
The Wisconsin-based FFRF argued that including the Lord’s Prayer was an act of violation to the Constitution. They claimed that it endorsed religion.
FFRF stated in their website: “Children in public schools are a captive audience. Making prayer an official part of the school day is coercive and invasive.”
The decision was to either remove the Lord’s Prayer or face a lawsuit.
School Board President Larry Walton declared, “It was a decision made because we don’t have a lot of money and we’d rather hire teachers than pay lawyers.”
Walton added, “I’m sorry this happened but, it’s a war we can’t win.”
"The school district's decision devastated the entire community--especially students in the high school's esteemed music program," claimed Todd Starnes of Fox News.
Lisa Ensinger, the school’s choir director attempted to petition in early May to the East Liverpool Board of Education. She expressed her concerns by stating that it could “cause great detriment to our music education program,” now that the Lord’s Prayer was to be taken out.
The restriction of using the Lord’s Prayer brought Ensinger to wonder what other songs would be prohibited from their school. Songs like Mozart’s Requiem Mass, Handel’s messiah, and music from the Medical period could also be taken out in the near future.
Reciting and singing the Lord’s Prayer was a 70-year-old tradition for East Liverpool High School.
Student Vice President Cami Post disclosed to NewsChannel 4, “We’re really big at traditions at this school and I think it would’ve been nice to have the same as my brother had whenever he graduated.”
Valedictorian Bobby Hill said, “The class thought it was wrong that we were being forced to remove it.”
Before his closing speech, he led the graduating class by chanting the Lord’s Prayer.
Hill’s father commented,“I was very proud to see the youth, our future leaders, decide to stand up for what they believed in. I can’t lie—I teared up.”
“I’ve always taught my boys to stand up for what you believe is right,” Mr. Hill continued speaking. “The same lesson my parents taught me. It doesn’t matter fit’s over religion or something else—take a stand.”
Hill’s brave act was applauded in an uproar and received a standing ovation from the witnesses in the ceremony.