Freedom From Religion Foundation Sends Warning After Grad Speech - WSPA.com

Freedom From Religion Foundation Sends Warning After Grad Speech

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It's the video clip seen around the country. Liberty High Valedictorian Roy Costner the fifth tearing up his school approved speech choosing instead to recite the Lord's prayer.  

"I think it's wonderful people stand up for their religious rights," Pickens County resident Debbie Bernshausen.

Costner may have a lot of support, but the prayer violated school policy.

So we asked the district why Costner's mic wasn't turned off, and the prayer was allowed to continue.

"In that case when you're dealing with that many people in support of what's going on, you're also looking at a security risk with a lot of very upset people," John Eby, with Pickens County School District said.  

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a warning letter to the district about the graduation prayer.

It also included multiple other violations like a West End Elementary School teacher playing religious music in the classroom.

"That's already been taken care of we already sent our response to the Freedom From Religion on those issues and they are just choosing to bring them up again," Eby said.  

So why did they bring the issue back up, we went straight to the source.

"These are very recent letters of complaints, we've had a whole series of violations coming out of that school district," Annie Laurie Gaylor said.  

But people we spoke with aren't happy about the atheist group getting involved.

"They aren't even from here they are just sticking their nose someplace they don't belong," Pickens County Resident Mary Harris.

I tracked down Costner in Los Angeles, he still firmly stands behind his decision.

But I did ask what he would say to anyone offended by the prayer.

"I apologize if you feel that way all I can say is I hope you respect me but you don't have to agree with me," Annie Laurie Gaylor.

Is it a political statement or is it insensitive to other beliefs, that's a debate far from settled here in Pickens County.

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