Public prayer will be allowed at a Texas high school graduation on Saturday. Late Friday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ban won earlier this week. An agnostic family had claimed a prayer by the valedictorian would exclude their beliefs. Earlier this week a judge ruled in their favor, but Medina Valley I.S.D. appealed and students made sure their voices were heard loud and clear.
"This is a great day for students of faith," said Kelly Coghlan, a local attorney and author of a law that protects student led prayer.
"The court actually read everything, considered the law and said they weren't persuaded the prayer or other remarks to be given by students at graduation are in fact school sponsored," said Coghlan.
Students had been banned from leading the audience in prayer, asking them to bow their heads and from saying Amen.
Attorney General Greg Abbott said the lower court's ruling went against the First Amendment.
"It's an ongoing attempt to purge God from the public setting, while at the same time demanding from the courts an increased yielding to all things Atheist and Agnostic."
"We have worked very hard to ensure that all of our students are respected, their rights and their beliefs. We feel like as a community and as a school district that in some way we have been made to feel as if we've done something wrong," said Chris Martinez, assistant superintendent.
Coghlan spoke with the superintendent and believes any prayer given tomorrow will be student initiated.
"Students in public schools, when they express something as a religious viewpoint even over the public address system, the government should not discriminate against that religious expression."