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The Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union Monday filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Cranston challenging the constitutionality of a prayer banner displayed in the Cranston High School West auditorium.
The suit, filed on behalf of Jessica Ahlquist, a Cranston West sophomore, asks the courts to order the prayer removed on the grounds that the city, through the School Department, violated Jessicaâ€™s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights making her feel â€śexcluded, ostracized and devalued by her school because she does not share or agree with the religious expression conveyed by the prayer.â€ť Jessica is an atheist.
The prayer, which summons â€śOur Heavenly Fatherâ€ť to guide students so that they bring credit to the school, was a gift of the schoolâ€™s first graduating class. Written in 1960 by David Bradley, a member of the student council at the time, itâ€™s been displayed...