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Lawsuit Filed Against Texas School District to Stop Prayer During Graduation

A federal lawsuit was filed Friday by the Americans United for Separation of Church and State to prevent a Texas school district from allowing prayer during graduation, according to FoxSanAntonio.com.

The suit was filed on behalf of Christa and Danny Schultz, who have two children in the Medina Valley Independent School District, including one graduating on June 4, according to the San Antonio Express.

The group wants the school district to remove a student-led invocation and benediction, but the school district says that the remarks do not violate any laws or school policy, according to the Express.

"Public schools can't require students to take part in religious worship as the price of attending their graduation. This is settled law, and the district needs to stop resisting it," the Rev. Barry Lynn, the group's executive director, told the paper.

A school spokesman says the group is just trying to create a political debate.

"It is sad that someone would choose the commencement exercises of the 50th anniversary of our school district as a forum for stirring political debate that threatens to needlessly cast a shadow of controversy over the pinnacle event of the class of 2011," school board president Roland Ruiz told the paper.

According to the Schultz's attorney, they previously asked the district to stop public prayers during school events.

"They're not atheists, they're actually agnostic, and (the parents) don't believe a school-sponsored prayer should be part of a school-sponsored event," attorney Don Flanary told the Express.

The group says their son might not attend his graduation if they don't eliminate the prayer during the ceremony.

A hearing for the lawsuit is scheduled Tuesday.