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Student Not Allowed to Deliver Graduation Speech with Christian Content

A Christian student in Illinois was told he could not read his graduation address to the school because it contained Christian content.

Conservative commentator Todd Starnes reports that 13-year-old Seth Clark, the salutatorian in his class at Akin Grade School, had planned to deliver a graduation address that included mention of his Christian faith, his church, and forgiveness, but the school refused to allow him to give the speech.

“As a public school, it is our duty to educate students, regardless of how different they or their beliefs may be,” said Superintendent Kelly Clark in a statement. “While students are welcome to pray or pursue their faith without disrupting school or infringing upon the rights of others, the United States Constitution prohibits the school district from incorporating such activities as part of school-sponsored events, and when the context causes a captive audience to listen or compels other students to participate.”

Despite the school’s refusing to allow him to deliver the graduation speech at the school ceremony, Seth’s friends and family found a way for him to give it anyway.

A friend of Seth’s family owns a house across the street from the school and offered his home to Seth and anyone who wanted to come hear his speech.

“When it came time for the valedictorian and the salutatorian to deliver their speeches, they invited the audience to join them across the street at the house,” said Becky Clark, Seth’s mom. “It was not mandatory.”

“This is not an attention thing for him. He wanted to share what was on his heart about God,” she added.

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