When Wisconsin’s Appleton North High School held its graduation ceremony last June, the most notable thing about it was that a school board members addressed the crowd… with a sermon. After telling the students and family members that Jesus Christ gave him strength, Pastor Alvin Dupree added, “It sounds like I’ve got some believers in this room.
If you’re here and you believe that, go ahead and clap your hands!” (You can hear it at the 1:08:39 mark in the video below.)
He ended his speech by saying “It was typed out to say ‘Best wishes.’ But I’m changing their script to what I would say: ‘God bless.’”
It wasn’t even Dupree’s first time doing something like that. In 2017, the Freedom From Religion Foundation said Dupree crossed the line by promoting his faith during that year’s graduation ceremony and that he also “gave a presentation to a local political party entitled ‘Placing God in the Classroom.’”
Yet he insisted he did nothing wrong and that any criticism of his speech was just an attempt to push people of faith “in the closet.” The school board didn’t say they would make any policy changes, either.
Shortly after the event, though, a group of 29 students and graduates sent a letter to the School Board condemning what Dupree did, pointing out the Board’s errors in allowing this to happen, and urging them to make reforms so it never happens again. (Read that letter. It’s impressive.)