Compromise Keeps Neptune Graduation at Great Auditorium @ManasquanPatch

Neptune High School Graduation Compromise, Great Auditorium, Ocean Grove, NJ

ACLU complaint over holding ceremony at religious venue has been resolved.

Neptune High School seniors will continue decades of tradition tonight when they hold their graduation ceremony at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey had threatened to sue the school district if changes weren’t made to the ceremony after a grandmother complained about the location and religious references in the ceremony last year. …

“The Board of Education and the administration is pleased that there has been a resolution,” said Neptune Township Superintendent of Schools David A. Mooij this morning.

“The intent of the district was always to keep the tradition alive. …It’s a building that cannot be duplicated anywhere, let alone within the geographical and municipal boundaries of Neptune. …” he said.

Katie Wang, communications director for the ACLU of New Jersey, declined to comment on the record Thursday other than to say the media had blown the issue out of proportion, but Wang emailed Patch a news release. …

“The national press on this has gotten way out of control,” said Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association Chief Administrative Officer Scott Hoffman Thursday.

It had been reported, for example, that students would be forced to enter the auditorium from the rear so as to avoid passing the prominent white cross that adorns the front of the building, but there are no front entrance doors and students have always processed from the rear, said Hoffman.

“That’s nothing new,” he said, conceding that “minor adjustments” had been made, including allowing the school district to display banners “in a place they think is appropriate.”

“I’m sure their objective there will be to make it hard to see” [two lighted signs at the front of the auditorium], said Hoffman. The historic signs say “Holiness to the Lord” and “So Be Ye Holy.” …

For the whole story and more photos, go to Manasquan Patch.

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