Violation 6 - Graduations in Churches and School Baccalaureates

School events, including graduations, should not be held in houses of worship. Public school programming, including graduations, testing and recitals, should not occur in churches, because any student could “reasonably conclude that the District would only choose such a proselytizing environment aimed at spreading religious faith . . . if the District approved of the Church’s message.” Elmbrook.

Budget considerations cannot trump students’ rights. 

Public schools may not organize religious baccalaureates. Schools and school staff may not plan, host, participate in or supervise baccalaureate programs (religious services that include prayer and worship). If privately sponsored baccalaureate services are renting space in public schools, the schools must take significant steps to ensure that there is no appearance of school endorsement.

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