A Yellowstone County District Court judge has been asked to decide whether a Butte High School student’s civil rights were violated when she was banned from speaking at graduation ceremonies last year because she refused to remove religious references from her speech.
Judge Gregory Todd heard arguments Monday in the case of Renee Griffith, who filed a lawsuit against Butte School District No. 1 alleging that Superintendent Charles Uggetti and Principal John Metz refused to let her speak at the 2008 graduation ceremony. Uggetti and Metz are also named as defendants in the case, which was filed April 16 in Yellowstone County.
According to the lawsuit, Griffith was one of 10 valedictorians in her class who were offered an opportunity to speak at graduation. But after reviewing her proposed speech, school officials said Griffith could not address the crowd unless she removed references to “God” and “Christ” in her speech.
Specifically, the officials said, Griffith had to change a sentence that read, “I didn’t let fear keep me from sharing Christ and His joy with those around me.”