If the senior class of 1991 in Weber District schools wants to pray during this year's graduation ceremonies, it's okay with the school board.
The Weber School Board met Tuesday night and decided unanimously not to interfere with the students' graduation programs.Board member Ted Parke said the board will support school prayer at graduation. On the other hand, Parke said that if the students don't want to pray, the board will support that decision also.
Controversy surrounding prayer at Utah graduation ceremonies surfaced last spring when the Utah Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against two Utah school districts. The ACLU claims that prayer at public school graduation ceremonies is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of church and state.
The case was heard last week in Salt Lake City before U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene, but the controversy wasn't resolved because Greene decided to postpone his ruling pending a decision by another public prayer case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Salt Lake attorney John Robson told the Weber District board that a similar suit filed in Rhode Island is now before the U.S. Supreme Court and a decision should be announced in about six months.
He also said that the ACLU was planning to seek an injunction against Granite and Alpine School Districts to prevent prayer during this year's spring graduation ceremonies. Robson said other school districts may be named in those injunction papers.
Board President Celia Archibald said she felt the board should allow the students to plan their own graduation ceremonies, and a "wise and conservative choice" would be to wait for the results in pending court cases before taking any action.