Religion And commencement speeches

Samantha West:

A commencement speech in which a member of the Appleton school board referenced his Christian faith is sparking controversy and debate about what messages are appropriate in a public school setting.

In response to the students’ and other community members’ concerns, Dupree told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin that he is an elected official — not a district employee — and emphasized that he has no obligation to withhold his personal views.

Dupree said he heard from many students and their family members who thanked him for the speech.

“People of faith should not have to go in the closet while everyone else is allowed to be free and out of the closet,” Dupree said. “I did not impose or threaten or tell people that if they don’t believe like I believe that they’re wrong.”