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SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court Wednesday backed up the actions of school district officials in Northern California who ordered a student to strike some religious passages from his graduation night speech.
A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit filed by the student, saying that the actions of school officials were correct because the "proselytizing" nature of portions of the speech amounted to forcing the audience at the commencement ceremony to take part in a religious exercise.
"Regardless of any offered disclaimer, a reasonable dissenter still could feel that there is no choice but to participate in the proselytizing in order to attend a high school graduation," the court said in its ruling. "Although a disclaimer arguably distances school officials from 'sponsoring' the speech, it does not change the...