ICC Note: During a recent high school graduation ceremony in Pennsylvania, a student named Moriah Bridges was told to remove all religious references from her speech which was structured as a prayer. The school district’s superintendent released a statement saying that both staff and students are banned from delivering prayers at public school events according to law. First Liberty Institute is now representing Bridges, arguing that the personal speech is protected under her constitutional rights.
By Bob Hazen
06/13/2017 United States (Pittsburgh’s Action News) – A recent high school graduate claimed the Beaver Area School District violated her civil rights by telling her to remove religious references from a speech she gave at the school’s commencement ceremony.
Moriah Bridges said Tuesday she wanted her speech at the graduation on June 2 to be a prayer.
“I just wanted to share all of my hopes, calling upon my Christian identity at graduation,” Bridges said.
Bridges is now being represented by First Liberty, a Texas-based religious freedom law firm, which argues Bridges’ speech was a personal message to her classmates and protected by the U.S. Constitution. The firm sent a letter to the district’s superintendent asking for a meeting and for the district to change its policy.
“I think we can just simply sit down and say, ‘Here’s a good policy. I think we can move forward on this.’ If it ultimately comes to a lawsuit at some point in the future, we’ll examine that at that time,” said First Liberty lawyer Jeremy Dys.
Beaver Area School Superintendent Carrie Rowe released the following statement:
Beaver Area School District applauds the Class of 2017 for its accomplishments. Our graduates are a shining example of what our schools strive to produce – thoughtful, engaged citizens whose contributions to our community and society will multiply in years to come.