Students join pre-graduation prayer suit - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Students join pre-graduation prayer suit

Irmo High School graduation on May 30. Irmo High School graduation on May 30.
The graduation program The graduation program
Max Nielson Max Nielson

Two more Irmo High School students have joined the lawsuit that looks to take school-sanctioned prayer out of graduation.

The students will graduate in the next couple years and say when it's their turn to sit inside Carolina Coliseum, they don't want to feel excluded.

For 16-year-old Dakota McMillan and 17-year-old Jacob Zupon, prayer has always made them feel uncomfortable.

"I've gotten used to it," McMillan said. "I've sat uncomfortably through it and I've learned to keep my thoughts to myself because I'll be judged and I won't be looked at the same."

Zupon's parents introduced him to Christianity, but in eighth grade he says he knew he didn't have religious beliefs.

"Even when the prayer of any kind is going on I've just felt alone and like people just look down on you because they just see you as an evil person," Zupon said.

"Suddenly everyone thinks you're a Satanist and it's just really awkward and they just don't see you as they saw you before because suddenly you're not the Christian they thought you were," McMillan said.

Zupon, a rising senior and McMillan, a rising junior say they've joined the lawsuit with now Irmo High School graduate Max Nielson because they want equality for everyone regardless of what you believe -- or don't believe.

"All I want from this is a moment of silence really because no matter what your religious beliefs are, either you're a Muslim or a Christian, even non-religious like me or something else, then you can have that moment to do whatever you believe in," Zupon said.

The students say it's not about the right to pray, but it's about a school policy that allows it to happen -- something they say violates their Constitutional rights.

"I'm just trying to let everyone do what they want to or believe what they want to believe," Zupon said.

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.

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