Three federal judges have reversed a ban that would have blocked Angela Hildenbrand from thanking Jesus as her Lord and Savior during her graduation ceremonies in Texas.
The school’s valedictorian had asked the appeals court to block a judge’s ruling that she could not utter such words as “God,” “prayer” or “Amen” during her address to fellow graduates, their friends and families.
Upon hearing of the appeal panel’s decision, the teen said she “took the time to thank God. We’re just so, so thrilled with the court’s ruling. We could just not be more pleased with how it turned out.”
U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s original ruling prohibited students from praying at the graduation. Biery instead suggested that students modify their remarks to be “statements of their own beliefs,” allow them to make the sign of the cross, wear a yarmulke or hijab, or kneel to face Mecca.
However, the three-judge 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency appeal filed by the Medina Valley Independent School District. Texas Governor Rick Perry and the state’s attorney general had backed the school as well.