Court: School Grads In Wisconsin Church Crossed Line

Posted Monday, July 23, 2012 --- 5:45 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal appeals court says a pair of southeastern Wisconsin high schools violated the U.S. Constitution when they held graduations in a church.

An anonymous group of students and parents challenged Brookfield Central and Brookfield East's use of Elmbrook Church for graduations, arguing the ceremonies violated the separation of church and state. A three-judge panel from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in September the schools did nothing wrong.

The full 7th Circuit ruled Monday the ceremonies were unconstitutional, noting students were exposed to religious messages in the form of a giant cross that hung over the church's sanctuary and religious pamphlets on middle school and high school ministries and hymnals in the pews.

The schools' attorney didn't immediately return telephone and email messages.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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