An Update on the South Carolina Graduation Prayer

Max Nielson has made sure that the lawsuit he’s filed against Lexington/Richland School District 5 will live on even though he graduated at the end of May. He now has two co-plaintiffs who have signed on (PDF): Dakota McMillan (class of 2014) and Jacob Zupan (class of 2013). Both “reasonably anticipate constitutional injury” similar to Nielson’s due to prayer at their upcoming graduations.

That means that, despite Max graduating, the lawsuit will still be able to move forward. Hooray! (It’s also proof that there are other students who agree with Max and what he’s doing.)

Since posting about him on this site, Max has also received a $1,000 Catherine Fahringer Memorial Student Activist Award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Past recipients include Jessica Ahlquist (of course), Harrison Hopkins, and Damon Fowler.

This past week, Max was interviewed by A Matter of Doubt podcast, which is the podcast that actually inspired Max to start the process of fighting the prayer at Irmo High School. He talks about his own upbringing and religious doubts, as well as the process he’s gone through for all of this. You can check out his interview here!


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  • Drew M.

    Woohoo! Awesome job!

  • It’s great to have the extra plaintiffs, but I’m pretty sure he asked for damages (and I’m pretty sure they’re nominal) is so that he’ll still have standing after he graduates.  At least that was Jessica Ahlquist’s reason for asking for something like $20 in damages.

  • Rev. Neal Jones

    I really admire their courage for standing for principle.