Indiana student sues to stop prayer - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Indiana student sues to stop prayer

Updated:
GREENWOOD -

Emily Longnecker/Eyewitness News

Greenwood - A high school senior is using the lesson he learned in a textbook to sue the school that named him valedictorian.

Graduation is right around the corner, but the seniors at Greenwood High School say they're a class divided.

"We're about to enter our last nine weeks and everyone's fighting," said class president Ali Salman.

The reason, the students say, is in the pages of a federal lawsuit filed by class valedictorian Eric Workman.

"That's a good headline for him, too. Valedictorian sues Greenwood High School," said senior Tyler Beach.

Workman's lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, challenges the high school's practice of letting seniors vote on whether to have a student-led prayer at graduation. A majority of students in this year's graduating class voted to have a prayer read at graduation.

"It does not favor one religion. It does not favor Christianity. It's a prayer wishing the senior class well in future endeavors," Beach said.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has made it quite clear that it is unconstitutional to have graduation prayer and its unconstitutional to have an election to decide if there should be prayer at school," said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana.

The ACLU of Indiana says the graduation prayer and the vote to have it violate the First Amendment.

"It should not require a student to step forward like this when the school should have realized many years ago that what it was doing was wrong," Falk said.

"It's student-led prayer. It's not the administration saying you have to bow your head, you have to pray," Beach said.

But students might not get to have that choice. It's up to a federal judge to decide.

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