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Full-court review of Elmbrook graduation case sought

Oct. 7, 2011

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today asked a federal appeals court to rule that Elmbrook School District violated students' constitutional rights by holding some past graduation ceremonies in a church.

A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September issued a 2-1 decision upholding a lower court ruling stating the district did nothing wrong by holding the Brookfield East and Brookfield Central ceremonies at Elmbrook Church. Now, Americans United, which represents anonymous defendants in the case, wants a full-court review.

"Public schools should schedule graduation ceremonies at facilities where all families feel welcome," Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Alex J. Luchenitser said. "Students should not have to be immersed in an intensely religious environment of a faith different from their own in order to attend their graduation. Graduation is too important to leave some families out."

The court now has the option of accepting or denying the request.

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