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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 Jessica‚Äôs First and Fourteenth Amendment rights making her feel ‚Äúexcluded, ostracized and devalued by her school because she does not share or agree with the religious expression conveyed by the prayer.‚ÄĚ Jessica is an atheist.
The prayer, which summons ‚ÄúOur Heavenly Father‚ÄĚ to guide students so that they bring credit to the school, was a gift of the school‚Äôs first graduating class. Written in 1960 by David Bradley, a member of the student council at the time, it‚Äôs been displayed...