AU Opposes School-Sponsored Prayer At Texas Graduation

Americans United has urged officials at a Texas school district to end official prayers during high school graduation ceremonies.

In a letter to two high schools within the Klein Independent School District, AU attorneys advised the district that inclusion of prayers at commencement violates Supreme Court precedent. AU received a complaint that both schools included invocations and benedictions at their June 4 graduations as scheduled parts of the ceremony.

“The law is absolutely clear on this issue,” said AU Legal Director Ayesha N. Khan. “It’s a matter of simple fairness and decency for school officials to recognize that we live in a diverse society and to include everyone.”

In Lee v. Weisman, a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the majority held that public schools may not impose prayer and other forms of worship on students and their families during graduation.

Americans United’s letter asks the district to establish a policy that respects the rights of all students and to discontinue prayer at future graduation ceremonies, requesting a response within 30 days.

The letter was drafted by AU’s Khan and Staff Attorney Ian Smith.