Plaintiffs drop suit over BRHS grad speech |

Plaintiffs drop suit over BRHS grad speech

xxA federal lawsuit filed over a graduation speech at Bear River High School has been dropped.

The speech given at Bear River’s 2000 graduation ceremony was religious and violated the separation of church and state, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

U.S. District Judge William Shubb signed the stipulation dismissing the suit Tuesday, a clerk at the U.S. District Court in Sacramento said.

Richard Frishman, a Nevada City attorney, filed the suit on June 7, 2001, on behalf of Richard Moglen, his family and Heidi Lutzker, all of whom attended the graduation ceremony at the high school in June 2000.

Valedictorian Ryan Bestlemeyer spoke about his Christian beliefs at the ceremony. The Moglens and Lutzker, who are Jewish, said their constitutional rights were violated, court papers show.

An attorney for Nevada Joint Union High School District referred questions to Frishman.

Frishman said his clients were satisfied.

“We did it because we’re satisfied that the district has made good progress towards putting in programs to enhance sensitivity to diversity and to preclude a recurrence of the incident which led to the lawsuit,” he said Wednesday.

Nobody is paying anything, Frishman said.

“Contrary to what some people say, this lawsuit was never about money,” he said.

Since the suit was filed, the Nevada Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees has adopted new rules that spell out guidelines for graduation speeches.

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