Cranston residents might take interest in this story, posted on Irmo-SevenOaks Patch.
The same group that played a supporting role in the Cranston West Prayer Banner saga, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, is supporting 18-year-old Irmo High school graduate Matthew Nelson, who is suing the Lexington-Richland 5 public school district for allowing prayer during graduation.
Matthew Neilson says he suffered "unwanted exposure to a school-sanctioned invocation/benediction/prayer/religious message/blessing" when a fellow classmate read a prayer before the graduates received their diplomas Wednesday, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Columbia.
Neilson told WIS that he didn't feel like he was a part of that portion of the graduation ceremony.
"I didn't remove my cap," Nielson said. "I looked toward the superintendent and let the time pass. I was obviously not a part of that part of the graduation ceremony. The district didn't feel like it needed to find time for me and my non-religious or non-Christian friends."
Neilson filed the lawsuit along the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Wisconsin that defends the separation between church and state and educates the public about non-theist views.
In the Cranston West case, plaintiff Jessica Ahlquist was the plaintiff in a suit filed by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The prayer in question in Cranston was a painted mural that contained references to "our Holy Father" and concluded with "Amen."
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux ruled in favor of the ACLU.
The plaintiffs claim that the prayer at graduation was a violation of Neilson's rights under the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, according to the lawsuit.
A district policy allows for a benediction or invocation at graduation if the majority of the senior class votes in favor of it, according to the lawsuit. The class of 2012 voted in favor of having a prayer.
Neilson met with Irmo High's principal, wrote a letter to the school board and met with the superintendent to request that the prayer not be delivered, according to the lawsuit. But his request was denied.
He told WIS, he hopes his lawsuit will stop prayer from being included in future graduations.