A former Dorman High School student, Brandon David, who recently graduated, has started a Facebook Group and online petition asking that all faiths and beliefs be respected at future graduation ceremonies. David said he felt that a comment made by the Chaplain during the ceremony could be offensive to individuals who do not subscribe to the Christian faith.
“June 2nd, 2009, the chaplain (a student chosen by the a vote) stated that if one did not have Jesus Christ in their life, one would not have stability,” said David.
“Now, once again, I would like to say that I have no issue with prayer but many things could be seen wrong with that statement. Maybe not for someone of Christian dissent but for someone who is Buddhist, Jainist, Hindu, Atheist, etc., etc., etc. They’re pretty much being told their religion is wrong through that statement.”
District 6 released this statement. “Historically, an invocation has always been a part of Dorman High School’s graduation, led by the student body chaplain, who is elected by popular vote. This process is strongly supported by District Six Administration and School Board policy. We have been made aware of the petition and will listen to any concerns a student may have.”
He says they are not asking for the end of prayer but believes a more universal message is in order. “We have not asked for the ending of any particular message,” he said. “We’ve pretty much asked that all religions be respected during graduation ceremonies and we’re simply asking for a more universal message during graduation.”
David says Dorman High is a diverse school and everyone should feel respected at graduation. According to him, “My motivation is coming from the fact that my graduating class–the people I’ve been through school with–are from a very diverse religious background. And I myself being Unitarian Universalist believe that all religions should be respected.”
He goes on to say, “More general citing (of) the bible, prayers, things of that nature, in a more respectful manner I would not mind at all.
“If it’s going to go to that level…I don’t think any religion should be degraded at a graduation ceremony.”
David will take classes at Spartanburg Community College this fall and goes to basic training for the Marine Corps at Parris Island in January.