Despite the fact that there are less incidents violating students’ religious freedom on campuses across the nation than there were a few years ago, there are still many schools that try to suppress students' rights of religious expression during graduations.
Liberty Counsel – a religious rights legal organization based in Orlando, Florida – has launched its 15th Annual "Friend or Foe" campaign to make sure that students have the right to express their religious faith at high school graduations that are currently taking pace across the United States.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver maintains that schools need to remain neutral when it comes to religious expression.
"Well, certainly over the 15 years we've been doing this, we've seen the situation change quite a bit,” Staver shared. “We've had more battles in the past than we do now, but we still have those battles because [with] the battles in the past, we've had to educate and – if necessary – litigate to make sure religious freedom and free speech are protected. So, we will continue to move forward with that."
The legal expert argues that misguided administrators who try to suppress the religious expressions of graduates send a horrible message.
"It's a terrible message to send to a young person that they can say anything they want to, but just don't mention God or Jesus – that it’s banned or it's somehow illegal,” Staver insisted. “That's a terrible message that we have to counteract."
Staver encourages parents of publicly schooled children to learn more about their students’ rights to religious speech during graduation ceremonies at Liberty Counsel’s “Friend or Foe” page.