Published On: Sun, Jun 10th, 2012

South Carolina high school okays student to use Bible verse in her graduation speech

A South Carolina high school has reversed course and will now allow their Student of the Year to cite Proverbs from the Bible in her graduation speech, reports the Christian Post.

Mariah Kirby Student of the Year photo

Mariah Kirby Student of the Year, Photo/ Provost Academy Facebook page

Provost Academy South Carolina has become ground zero in a new freedom of religion and freedom of speech controversy. The high school has limited Michal “Mariah” Kirby, blocking the use of Proverbs 13:4 in her speech.

Kirby’s fight had been taken up by the Alliance Defense Fund, which argued that school officials were violating her First Amendment rights. The school gave Kirby the green light to “deliver her speech as written.”

“Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas, and that includes individual student expression contained in a graduation speech,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco in a statement Friday. “School officials have wisely decided to allow Mariah to include the proverb, and we hope other schools will follow their example in acting quickly to respect the constitutionally protected rights of their students.”

Kirby was selected to deliver a speech at the June 9 graduation ceremony after being named Student of the Year.

She completed high school in three years and is the first graduate from Provost Academy who started there as a freshman.

According to ADF, school officials did not place any content limitations on her speech and told her it could be about “anything.”

She emailed a draft of her speech to school officials on May 31 but in a reply email, officials told her she had to remove the sentence stating “Proverbs 13:4 says ‘The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

More on Kirby can be found at the school’s Facebook page, announcing her accomplishment – here.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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