Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Massachusetts school district to stand up for secularism

Vol. 35 No. 9 November 2018

FFRF has received assurances from a Massachusetts school district that religion will not be allowed to intrude into its graduation ceremonies from now on.

Canton Public Schools officials invited the Rev. John Tomilio III to give a sectarian religious invocation at the 2018 Canton High School graduation ceremony. Principal Derek Folan introduced Tomilio by stating: “At this time I’d like to invite Reverend Dr. John Tomilio III to the stage . . . to deliver the invocation.”

“The Supreme Court has settled this matter—high school graduations must be secular to protect the freedom of conscience of all students,” FFRF Robert G. Ingersoll Legal Fellow Colin McNamara wrote in June to Canton Public Schools Superintendent Jennifer Fischer-Mueller. “As the Supreme Court has said, ‘Fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.’”

FFRF heard back from Canton Public Schools.

“I am writing to confirm that steps have been taken to ensure that there will be no prayers or religious rituals as a part of any school ceremony (e.g., graduation) or any other school-sponsored event,” Fischer-Mueller wrote.