Religion to Keep Student From Graduation

Enfield High School's Saturday graduation causes a problem for the student.

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    Patrick Knighton, Enfield High's class president, won't be able to attend graduation.

    The president of Enfield High School's senior class won't be able to attend his graduation because of his religious beliefs.

    Patrick Knighton, a Seventh-day Adventist, had asked the Board of Education to reschedule the planned graduation date on Saturday, June 25, because his religion prevents him from participating in "business or business-related activities" from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday, the Journal Inquirer reported.

    The Board put off a vote on the graduation date last week to consider Knighton's request, but voted 7-1 Monday night to go ahead with the scheduled Saturday graduation, the paper reported.

    Gregory Stokes, the Board of Education Chairman said he respected Knighton's religious convictions, but that the Board had to consider the majority of students. Parents of other students complained to the board that family members had already made flight arrangements to attend the June 25 graduation and couldn't change them, according to the Journal Inquirer.

    As class president, Knighton is supposed to give a speech, and lead the class in turning their tassels upon graduation. Board members suggested Knighton videotape a message to be played during graduation. They may also hold a graduation ceremony for Knighton during an earlier graduation rehearsal, the paper reported.