A conservative legal organization specializing in religious freedom has filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court on behalf of a Butte High School student who was banned from speaking at her 2008 graduation for refusing to remove religious references from her speech.
The Virginia-based Rutherford Institute filed the appeal in response to District Judge Gregory Todd's ruling in February that Butte School District No. 1's actions were neither taken in response to the student's personal religious beliefs nor were they unlawfully discriminatory. The judge added that the school district policy barring religious references during graduation speeches is constitutional.
Rutherford Institute president John W. Whitehead calls it a case of "pure censorship."
Renee Griffith sued the school district in April 2009. She was one of 10 valedictorians who was asked to speak, but school officials said she had to remove references to God and Christ.