Student appeals dismissal of lawsuit over graduation speech

DENVER (AP) - A student who was punished for using her high school graduation speech to encourage others to know Jesus Christ is appealing the dismissal of her lawsuit against the school district.

Lewis-Palmer High School officials in Monument, Colorado, had screened Erica Corder's 2006 speech, but she changed her text and
urged the audience to consider the Christian faith.

Before giving Corder her diploma, the principal required Corder to write a letter explaining her actions and acknowledging that the remarks were her personal views.

A federal judge last summer ruled the case was moot because Corder graduated. He also said school officials didn't violate Corder's free speech rights because her remarks were school-sponsored.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, which filed her appeal, said "school officials falsely claimed this straight-A student could not graduate because she mentioned the name of Jesus in her 30-second speech."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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