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Valedictorian claims school wouldn’t let him give speech with religious references

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May 22, 2018

The graduation ceremony may be over, but the controversy lives on in McDonough County. Sam Blackledge says he wasn’t able to give his valedictorian speech at West Prairie High this weekend.

“It was really upsetting,” states Blackledge. “I wanted to share that the need for every person is Jesus, and that He offers anyone forgiveness to come follow him ”

The graduate says after being asked to show a copy of his speech to the Principal, he was denied the chance to give a speech at all, until the last minute, when he was told he could give a few words of thanks at the podium.

“They said I couldn’t apply it to everyone, and that I couldn’t share about Christ in it.”

Now he has an attorney.

“We believe the school district has acted wrongly against the Constitution here,” explains attorney Jeremy Dys.

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