Students clash over planned prayer during graduation

LINCOLN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - It's a tradition that could come to an end this year. One Central Kentucky high school may not say a prayer during its graduation ceremony. The decision comes after complaints from students that school officials were infringing on their Constitutional rights.

Prayer during graduation has been the norm at Lincoln County High School for years. Jonathan Hardwick, the Senior Class President, doesn't want to be the first to break that tradition.

"It's a way of celebrating an important event in our life with a prayer to something that has helped us and guided us through a major part of our life," says Hardwick, "if I want to have a prayer the school can't stop me, but if the school can't say come up here and pray that's the school supporting prayer but if I want to pray they can't stop me."

We're told six students in all approached school leaders about their discomfort with prayer, including Bradley Chester.

"I feel like you shouldn't force your religion upon anybody. And a lot of people are saying if there are prayers at graduation, you don't have to participate, you can sit there and not listen, close your ears. Well, one, it's my graduation. I shouldn't have to close my ears," Chester remarks.

The senior is an atheist, and would like to have a moment of silence at graduation instead of prayer.

"This is a place for school not a church. I feel like I'm graduating from Lincoln County High, not Lincoln County church."

The decision is now in the hands of school leaders. Graduation at LCHS is set for May 24th.

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