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Free Speech Lawsuit Involving Prayer Dismissed

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A federal appeals court has dismissed a free speech lawsuit brought by a former Pleasanton high school student who was barred from proselytizing during a graduation speech.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth U-S Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a federal judge who dismissed the suit brought by Nicholas Lassonde.

The San Francisco based appeals court said schools are constitutionally barred from endorsing religion. The court said permitting a speech that preached the Christian faith at a public school´s graduation ceremony would amount to coerced participation in a religious practice. The court said Lassonde´s preaching could force students at Amador Valley High School to participate in a Christian activity if they wanted to attend their high school graduation.