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Americans United for Separation of Church and State, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., has filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to stop Elmbrook School District from holding its high school graduation ceremonies at Elmbrook Church. The group argues that holding a public ceremony in a religious setting is unfair to non-Christian community members.

In February, Gibson said Brookfield East and Central high schools still planned to hold the graduations at the church in June. But the district has been planning to move the ceremonies back to new gymnasiums on campus next school year.

Should the district move this year's ceremonies to location other than the church?


274 Comments for "Should the school district hold '09 graduations at Elmbrook Church?"

  1. Stick to your principles. ONE student objects and hundreds of students and their families must knuckle under? Absurd! Hold the graduation at Elmbrook Church and I'll be glad to contribute to your defense fund. This has got to stop! And let's name that plaintiff.

    Bob Apr 22, 2009 7:56 PM

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  2. Yes, just what we need, more ridiculous lawsuits.

    The event is a public event that just happens to be located in a church, which was chosen because of its size needed to hold the event with room enough for everyone to sit comfortably.

    They are not attending a religious event, they are not going to be handing out bibles, they are not going to have ministers there. Nobody is going to be asking you at the door whether or not you're a Christian or believe in God in order to be able to enter.

    It's not a religious event, the school isn't promoting religion. It's having a high school graduation ceremony!

    To say that this is an issue of separation of church and state is absolutely ridiculous.

    I hope the Brookfield school district sticks to its guns and doesn't let the few who need attention for their own radical political agenda, ruin it for the rest of the graduating class and their families.

    Patty Apr 22, 2009 9:35 PM

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  3. As a 1982 graduate of Brookfield East, I understand the issues and constraints of holding graduation at the high school - it was miserable in 1982 I can only expect it is that much worse in 2009. I do however support the suggestion to find a nonsecular location - there are many in the area. The church is beautiful but I myself would not want my graduation in a church as I know I had friends that would not have been comfortable attending in a church. Be realistic and find a location that everyone is comfortable in. Also, if the church refuses to let the district cover the crucifix, then absolutely do NOT hold it there.

    Joan Doe Apr 22, 2009 10:15 PM

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  4. Yes, if only to avoid spending unnecessary dollars on this issue.

    a Apr 22, 2009 10:16 PM

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  5. No student should be forced to graduate in this mega-church. The message it sends is government and the church are all part of the same thing. What if this place was a Muslim mosque or Hebrew Temple?

    Keep religion out of school and schools out of religion. There are no "principles" up for debate, the law bans this kind of thing and if you don't like the Constitution, then you really don't believe in America. Today a church, tomorrow a mosque. Think before speaking.

    Jane Apr 23, 2009 12:03 AM

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  6. They absolutely should NOT stop utilizing Elmbrook Church for graduation ceremonies to appease a group of people whose only real purpose is to foment hatred against all people of faith. The district has used Elmbrook Church for these ceremonies for over 15 years without incident or insult to the participants or the surrounding community, and doing so has in fact been an absolute boon to all involved.

    You do not defeat hatred and intolerance (which is what the AUSCS is all about) by bowing down to it; you only do that by standing up to it until it crumbles under it's own weight.

    Loren Sanders Apr 23, 2009 2:35 AM

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  7. NO, yhere is not

    No, there is nothing wrong with renting the facility.
    these people need to stop trying to impose their will on others!

    hing wrong with renting thr facility

    Tom Apr 23, 2009 4:18 AM

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  8. I am a public school teacher and agree with the separation of church and state. However, in this situation, this lawsuit is ludicrous. Who does it hurt?? And what responsible parent files a lawsuit like this knowing that the resulting legal fees will siphon funds away from their child's classroom?

    I have attended graduations at Elmbrook and found the venue to be quite comfortable, particularly for the many older and disabled adults who attended -- including those who were relatives of non-Christian students, who incidentally didn't care that they were in a Christian church.

    The event, not the venue, is what's important here. Good luck, Elmbrook.

    Frances Apr 23, 2009 5:06 AM

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  9. No. They should hold it at the nearest Kabbalah, People's Temple, or Islamic center. All this people who are in favor of allowing the "freedom" to hold governmental activities (yes, public schools are a government activity) to be held at churches quickly change their tune when the faith turns out to be non-Christian. I have these debates with people all the time- it's always the same. If it's Christian, of course it's okay. If it's non-Christian, it's "why are all these people trying to force their religion down our throats". Same old, same old. Keep it out of all religious centers.

    Fed Up Apr 23, 2009 5:17 AM

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  10. Yes. Move the ceremony out of a religous setting. Imagine how uncomfortable those who are not of this religion. I thought there was separation of church and state?

    Lynne Crowley Apr 23, 2009 5:40 AM

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  11. OUr son graduated from Brookfield Central and we had the same the same issue and the graduation was held in the Gym at BC. It was 90 degrees and sitting on the bleachers was almost unbearable - peole did faint. If the group can find a suitable place with A/C, lets get this controversy over with - it comes up ever year. They always tell us where not to have the ceremony but never have a solution.

    Pete Kaiser Apr 23, 2009 5:41 AM

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  12. Absolutely NOT! The ceremony should go on as scheduled. The venue is use by many non-religious organizations for various functions. This is a ridiculous wast of time and energy.

    D Carson Apr 23, 2009 5:55 AM

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  13. Yes! I was forced to attend a commencement at this tacky church and it was gross beyond description. There are plenty of plush secular places in the area where commencements may be held if the gyms aren't good enough. BTW, they were good enough for more than 40 years! Superintendent Gibson is a member of the church and this practice is nothing more than a way for him and other benighted true believers in the city to insinuate Jesus into every second of what should be a purely secular event.

    Ralph Apr 23, 2009 6:09 AM

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  14. From Jane in Cudahy: "What if this place was a Muslim mosque or Hebrew Temple?" If the mosque or temple held 3,000 people and had AC, then I would have no issues with holding it there either.

    Whatever Apr 23, 2009 6:16 AM

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  15. I believe the district should move the graduations to a secular setting. Having graduation for a public school in a clearly religious setting is inappropriate. There is much more at issue here than space needs. I am surprised that the administration doesn't understand that. By the way, I had three children who graduated from Brookfield East in the 1980s and I would definitely have objected if the graduations had been held at ElmBrook Church...a church that is noted for its proselytizing. It is no secret that a certain faction in our country wants to undo the separation of church and state. Again, why doesn't the ElmBrook administration understand that?

    Elaine Apr 23, 2009 6:17 AM

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