School district makes changes after student complains about edits to commencement speech

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Changes were made at a local school district after a student complained for not being allowed to thank God in her commencement speech.

Moriah Bridges graduated from Beaver Area High School in June.

She submitted her speech and two days before the ceremony, she claims the superintendent told her it was illegal to offer a prayer in a school setting and she had to take it out.

First Liberty, a religious freedom group, intervened and told the school Bridges' First Amendment rights were being violated.


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She explained what she wanted to say in her speech on Fox News.
 
"My faith has always been part of my identity," Bridges said. "When I went to write my closing remarks, it was more genuine to be true to myself and thank God when giving my best wishes to my classmates."
 
Under a new policy enacted this month, the Beaver Area School District says it will make clear that student speakers represent themselves only and not their classmates or school. It also won't restrict speech as long as it doesn't interfere with safety or promote criminal activity.
 
The superintendent apologized to Bridges in a news release, writing: "I am sorry there was a lack of clarity about our policy and I regret that this caused confusion for Moriah and her family."
 

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