A Michigan high school valedictorian will be allowed to reference her Christian faith in her upcoming graduation speech, after being advised by her school principal to omit religious references in her address.
Elizabeth Turner, one of her class’ valedictorians at Hillsdale High School, is set to deliver a speech to her classmates at their June 6 graduation ceremony.
Last month, Turner submitted her graduation speech to her principal via Google Docs for review. She referenced her faith in Christ in the speech draft.
“For me, my future hope is found in my relationship with Christ. By trusting in him and choosing to live a life dedicated to bringing his kingdom glory, I can be confident that I am living a life with purpose and meaning. My identity is found by what God says and who I want to become is laid out in scripture,” Turner’s original speech read.
The principal added a comment to this portion of the text in Google Docs, telling Turner her personal religious beliefs were “not appropriate” to share publicly at the public school commencement.
“You are representing the school in the speech, not using the podium as your public forum,” principal Amy Goldsmith wrote. “We need to be mindful about the inclusion of religious aspects. These are your strong beliefs, but they are not appropriate for a speech in a school public setting. I know this will frustrate you, but we have to be mindful of it.”
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