Wednesday's denial of an American Civil Liberties Union petition seeking an injunction against schools planning to offer prayer at graduation may take pressure off local school officials, but it won't change any policies.

Officials from Alpine, Nebo and Provo school districts say they will still allow students from each high school to decide for themselves whether to have prayer at graduation."Judge Greene's denial of the motion by the ACLU for a preliminary injunction vindicates the stance taken by the Alpine District Board of Education. This allows us to continue our tradition of allowing students to exercise their freedom of choice in the matter of graduation ceremonies," Alpine Superintendent Steven Baugh said.

So far, students at all Nebo and Alpine high schools have chosen to offer prayer at this year's graduation ceremonies. The schools either voted on the issue or senior class officers polled students.

Only Timpview and Provo high schools in Provo School District have yet to make a decision on the matter. However, Wednesday's ruling likely will help students make a decision.

"It should take some pressure off of the students and the schools," Provo Superintendent Kay Laursen said. "They won't have to worry about someone looking over their backs anymore."

While Alpine has played a major role in the graduation prayer issue, Provo and Nebo have watched from the sidelines. Still, both took a similar stance by allowing students to make the decision.

Even though Alpine officials view Wednesday's ruling as a victory, Provo and Nebo officials say it only resolves the issue for this year. Officials from all three districts say the issue will not be resolved until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a Rhode Island prayer case this fall.

"Our feeling has always been that sometime down the road the court will make a decision and we will have to abide by that decision," said Larry Kimball, Nebo director of secondary education.

"I imagine the board will stay where we are at until the decision is made back East," Laursen said.


(Additional information)

Prayers planned

Utah County high schools planning to have prayer at graduation ceremonies:

American Fork

Pleasant Grove


Mountain View


Spanish fork



Undecided -- Provo and Timpview\