A long-serving school district superintendent from Missouri has been forced out of his job following student complaints over a prayer incident that took place at their graduation ceremony. Kent Medlin reportedly asked students to stand and pray with him during the event. He has been suspended by the school board on grounds that he violated policy and possibly the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

The board’s action was based on its belief that “Dr. Medlin’s high school commencement speech violated Board of Education policies regarding prayer at school-sponsored events,” according to The Springfield News-Leader. Medlin allegedly quoted the Bible and credited his “Savior” in a speech based around the acronym GUTS. After discussing the need for “grit,” “understanding” and “teamwork,” he said that his “S” stood for “Savior.”

“He said you can attribute all your successes to Jesus Christ and we were like ‘Wow, you cannot say that,'” said Senior Ashlynn Bradley. “It was like testimony. I felt like we were at church. Then he said he’d say a prayer.”

“I came there to graduate, not go to church,” student Preston Schaeffer added.

“If my behavior was offensive to anyone then I am truly sorry,” said Medlin. “I in no way wanted to offend anybody. That was not my intention.”

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