The West Marion Elementary School student was supposed to read the poem at a Nov. 8 Veterans Day ceremony to honor her grandfather, a Vietnam veteran.
The deleted line read: “He prayed to God for peace, he prayed to God for strength.”
An attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which advocates for religious rights and freedoms, criticized the school’s decision.
“America’s public schools should encourage, not restrict, the constitutionally protected freedom of students to express their faith,” said Matt Sharp, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, in a statement. “Students should not be censored when speaking about their faith or honoring those who valiantly served to protect our freedoms. … The censorship of this young student’s poem about her grandfathers is repugnant to the First Amendment rights of all students and sends an impermissible message of hostility towards religion.”
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