Decided: ACLU v. Black Horse Regional Board of Education — The Third Circuit Court rules that a school cannot allow students to vote on whether or not they would have a student-lead prayer during graduation. The degree of state involvement in the ceremonies means that any aspect of it is state-approved, including the prayer and prayer content.
According to the decision:
"An impermissible practice can not be transformed into a constitutionally acceptable one by putting a democratic process to an improper use.
There should be no question "that the electorate as a whole, whether by referendum or otherwise, could not order [governmental] action violative of the [Constitution], and the [government] may not avoid the strictures of [the Constitution] by deferring to the wishes or objections of some fraction of the body politic. ...
Graduation at Highland Regional High School, like graduation at nearly any other school, is a school sponsored event. School officials decide the sequence of events and the order of speakers on the program, and ceremonies are typically held on school property at no cost to the students.
The atmosphere at Highland's graduations is characterized by order and uniformity. School officials necessarily "retain a high degree of control over the precise contents of the program, the speeches, the timing, the movements, the dress, and the decorum of the students." "