Local News

Removing prayer from Franklin graduation sparks controversy

Posted June 6, 2012
Updated June 8, 2012

— Parents of graduating students in Franklin County are planning a vigil at 7 p.m. Friday at the Franklin County Courthouse in protest of the local school system's decision to remove prayer from school-led activities.

The unanimous vote by Franklin County school board members was the result of a parent who complained to the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina.

"The law was very clear on this point, that the government could not be sponsoring prayers," ACLU of North Carolina legal director Chris Brook said.

Franklin County Schools Superintendent Eddie Ingram said they could not knowingly violate the law by allowing prayer.

"We don't like all the laws. No one does, but we are compelled to uphold the law," he said.

Since learning of the ban, many parents have raised concerns.

"I do have Christian values, and I would like for them to have prayer," said parent Mel Ferrell, whose daughter, Amber, is graduating Saturday.

“I was stunned, almost sick to my stomach," parent Donna Allgood said. Franklin schools prayer Franklin County disallows prayer at high school graduation

The law does allow certain school groups, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, to incorporate prayer into events.

For graduation, however, Brook said, it isn't allowed. 

"We need to make sure that everyone can feel that they can participate in such an important event," he said.

For many parents, they just want to make sure the traditions they are used to will continue.

"It gives everyone that hope of the future," Allgood said.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jun 11, 2012

    determined2win said, “it's supposedly okay for atheists & gays to force THEIR beliefs on others.”

    So, Atheists have commandeered the school P.A. system and regularly broadcast Atheist comments to your captive school children?

    Because, if THAT is happening, then YES, this would be forcing beliefs on others and I would agree that it should stop.

    But...it’s you guys who are spewing the dogma to the captive group. It’s YOU who are forcing your beliefs on others.

    Can you not be happy with just praying by yourself? (as Jesus commands in Matt 6:5-6)

    Do you really need the government pulpit in order to not feel infringed? Really? If so, where is the line for the rest of us to broadcast our thoughts to this captive audience?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jun 11, 2012

    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto to you".*

    These Christians are demonstrating, forcefully, that this part of The Holy Bible is optional and not to be followed. So, why should anyone else follow *any* parts of the Bible?

  • New Creature Jun 8, 2012

    Daniel was ordered by the government not to petition God.
    He did it anyway :)

  • Skywatch_NC Jun 8, 2012

    You libs are hilarious!

    Nope, not a lib!

  • gopack07 Jun 8, 2012

    Prayer will never be fully banned in school. You can pray all you want and whenever you want by yourself, with friends, etc... but forcing your prayers on others who may share other religious beliefs isn't right. I'm all for this ban. If they were to say a prayer or state something from the Koran before graduation, I'm sure there would be a huge uproar from all the Christians. I think a lot of people have a hard time accepting the fact that not everybody is Christian.

  • commonsense4 Jun 8, 2012

    "who laws are you following, man's or Gods, apparantly mans request. I would rather follow God's because we will have to answer for our actions."

    Do you have an open line to him? Please ask him to send me a copy of those laws, would you? Oh wait, you were not alive when the universe was created so you are just taking this from a book written by fallible humans - over 40 of them. Awesome, just awesome!

  • commonsense4 Jun 8, 2012

    "You libs are hilarious!"

    Do you know what liberal means? Are you content to just stay with the status quo forever? Do you have anything with substance to add?

  • commonsense4 Jun 8, 2012

    "It has come to my attention that a lot of people do not realize that the "Pledge of Allegience" did not include the "under God" phrase until the 1950's. "

    Many also don't realize that the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Socialist . . . oh no, lol!

  • jjordan231179 Jun 8, 2012

    Guess I'm not entitled to give my opinion regarding the ACLU ...as they sure can infringe on OUR rights ...but we CANNOT on theirs.
    June 7, 2012 7:25 p.m.
    Report abuse

    YOu are entitled to NOTHING on WRAL's PRIVATE website. You libs are hilarious!

  • commonsense4 Jun 8, 2012

    What if the prayer in school was a Jewish prayer? A Muslim prayer? Would that be okay with the Christians on this board? Please answer seriously! Think about it.