A California school district says it will not apologize to a teenager who defied its orders and mentioned God in his graduation speech.
Attorneys representing the Brawley Union High School District have written a 10-page letter defending the school’s right not only to censor graduation speeches, but also to ban any speech that references God or Jesus.
“It is well established in the Ninth Circuit and California that a public school salutatorian has no constitutional right to lead a prayer or include sectarian or proselytizing content in his/her graduation speech,” reads a letter from the San Diego law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo.
Last month, 18-year-old Brooks Hamby made national headlines when he committed an act of civil disobedience by thanking Jesus in his salutatorian address. School administrators had redacted references to Jesus and the Christian faith in three previous versions of Hamby’s speech.
One administrator went so far as to redact every religious reference with a black marker—as if it were some sort of top-secret government document.
Liberty Institute, the law firm representing Hamby, has demanded that the school apologize for censoring the boy’s speech and that it guarantee future graduation speakers will not face censorship.
The school district, in the certified letter its attorneys sent to Liberty Institute, says that’s not going to happen. There will be no apology.
“The district was legally obligated to ensure prayers and other sectarian, proseltyzing content were omitted from Mr. Hamby’s speech,” the school’s attorneys wrote. “Censorship of the speech was necessary to avoid an Establishment Clause violation.”
In other words, the high-dollar attorneys are telling us the school district violated one constitutional amendment to avoid violating another.
The school district’s attorneys also said the California Constitution prohibits public school districts from endorsing religious speech at their graduation ceremonies.
“Mr. Hamby was not permitted to use his salutatory speech to lead his classmates in a sectarian prayer,” the attorneys wrote.
Instead, he was supposed to stand in front of his graduating class as a “representative example of the success of the school’s own educational mission,” the attorneys wrote, referencing a previous court case.
Are they trying to tell us the reason the district took offense was because Brooks Hamby thanks God for his success instead of the school district?
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SOURCE: Charisma News