Poteet graduation program challenged

Superintendent: Praying must be student-initiated

Author: Paul Venema, Reporter, pvenema@ksat.com
Published On: May 31 2012 04:38:37 PM CDT   Updated On: May 31 2012 05:46:49 PM CDT
POTEET, Texas -

The program for graduation ceremonies at Poteet High School has been modified following a complaint received by the superintendent.

For the first time in 99 years, the words "invocation" and "benediction" have been omitted from the program. They were replaced with welcoming and closing remarks.

The move came following a letter Superintendent Andres Castillo received from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

“They felt that in those two terms that we were commissioning -- asking -- our students to pray,” said Castillo. “And of course that would be illegal.”

He added that prayer would not be forbidden.

“If the welcoming remark is a prayer, it can be a prayer,” Castillo said. “It just needs to be student-initiated.”

Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the school’s Aggie football field.