U.S. - As high schools across the nation prepare to celebrate graduation, public schools are ratcheting up security measures to make sure vulnerable graduates are not attacked by a fellow student's utterance of Jesus's name during a valedictorian speech, sources confirm.
"Our students must be protected," said Vanessa Thompson, superintendent of West Prairie Community Schools in Illinois. "They should be able to attend their graduation without the fear of experiencing a senseless and vicious mention of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."
"These brutal attacks must stop," she added.
According to the National Education Association, school mentions of Jesus have risen sharply over the past decade and are responsible for more than 17 people actually being offended. According to one survey, 87% of graduating seniors have been exposed to at least one mention of Jesus during their high school career. The same survey indicated a shocking 55% of valedictorians had "thought about" exercising their constitutional First Amendment right to mention Jesus as a personal source of inspiration during a public speech.
"Those numbers are stunning," says Dick Hawking, a spokesperson for an advocacy group calling for tighter laws controlling Jesus mentions. "Clearly the founding fathers never intended for the First Amendment to mean that private citizens could openly discuss their personal religious faith without fear of retribution by a government entity. These laws need to be rewritten."
"It is a new era," he added ominously.