A high school valedictorian from South Carolina ripped up his approved speech on stage this past weekend, and minutes later, delivered the Lord’s Prayer in defiance of the school district’s decision to no longer include prayer at graduation ceremonies.
Roy Costner IV drew loud applause and cheers when he surprised attendees of the Liberty High School graduation at Clemson’s Littlejohn Colliseum on Saturday.
“From the ACLU sending FOIA requests to every district in the state this year after the Chesterfield County case, then the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent us a complaint about religion at board meetings and some other issues as well,” Pickens County School District spokesman John Eby said, the district has been under fire.
Therefore, officials decided to end invocations at all school functions and replace prayer at high school graduations with a moment of silence.
“I think it took a lot of courage to do that,” attendee Logan Gibson told reporters. “People were [supportive] that he stood up for what he believed in.”Eby said that the district will not be taking any action against Costner.
“The bottom line is, we’re not going to punish students for expressing their religious faiths,” he stated. “He’s a graduate now. There’s nothing we can do about it, even if we wanted to.”
Watch the speech below.