For the past two years, high schools in the town of Enfield, Conn. have preferred the indoor comforts of a church for their graduation ceremonies. But lawyers are now moving to stop the practice after it left some students feeling increasingly out in the cold.
A federal suit filed in May alleged that the public schools had violated the U.S. Constitution, which restricts government entities such as public schools from endorsing a particular religion, the latest flash point in a growing national debate on whether graduations have become too entangled in religion.
Enfield High School and Enrico Fermi High School, cited in the complaint, have decided to hold their ceremonies Wednesday and Thursday in their campus fields after a judge issued an injunction temporarily barring them from holding commencement in First Cathedral Church, in Bloomfield, Conn.
It is unclear if schools are holding more graduations in church or whether individuals are becoming more active in asking courts to stop them. But in recent years, school districts in Wisconsin, Florida and Maryland have also faced suits or threats of litigation over decisions to hold graduations in church.
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