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Michigan School Reverses, Will Allow “One-Time” Exception for High School Valedictorian’s Speech

June 2, 2021

News Release
For Immediate Release: 6.2.21
Contact: Lacey McNiel,
Direct: 972-941-4453

Michigan School Reverses, Will Allow “One-Time” Exception for High School Valedictorian’s Speech
School responded after letter from First Liberty Institute 

Westland, MI—After receiving a letter from First Liberty Institute, school officials at John Glenn High School in Westland, Michigan reversed a decision that prevented Savannah Lefler, a graduating senior, from speaking about her faith in her senior honors night remarks. School officials initially told Savannah to alter her remarks to remove her discussion of her Christian worldview.

“We are grateful that Savannah will be allowed to freely express her religious perspective in her remarks,” said Stephanie Taub, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “Savannah is thrilled that she’ll be able to celebrate with her classmates without being censored.  As we look forward to next year, we encourage other students to stand up for their First Amendment rights.”

Savannah said, “May God be glorified in the situation. I’m thankful I will be able to share my faith in Christ with my classmates and pray that this never happens to another student in the future.”

In its response, while refusing to concede a legal requirement, the school district said in this case they would allow a “one-time non-negotiable relinquishment of control” in light of the pre-recorded speeches this year and allow Savannah to give her remarks with a disclaimer stating that the speech is not endorsed by the school.

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at or by calling 972-941-4453.

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