GROVEPORT, Ohio (WCMH) — A local school district’s plan to hold graduation ceremonies at a nearby megachurch is raising questions about the message it sends.
Groveport Madison seniors will don caps and gowns and collect their diplomas at World Harvest Church at the end of the school year.
The district said there just isn’t room inside the high school to comfortably accommodate more than three guests per student, and they worry possible sweltering temperatures outside wouldn’t be much better.
A district spokesperson said they’re spending $10,000 to hold the ceremony at World Harvest.
Though there are those against the plan, at least one parent was ecstatic at the prospect.
“This alleviates everything: weather, parking, the number of people we’re able to bring and I just think that this is the best fit for our community,” said parent Christina Walls.
Another parent, Keith Morris, is against the plan, citing the rhetoric he hears coming from the pulpit.
“The pastor there? He preaches against gay marriage, he preaches against the Muslim faith in general,” Morris said. “That kind of divisive and intolerant banter is just not a good idea to associate with and as an alum, I’m ashamed of that idea.”
A district spokesperson released a statement in response to the concerns, reading, in part:
“The bottom line is that the district is renting a building. Regardless of theological beliefs or other issues, the facility provides students, parents, guests, and District staff with the opportunity to enjoy graduation in a climate-controlled environment, with an abundance of comfortable seating. It’s within a 10-minute drive of anywhere in the District, and there’s ample free parking to handle the large crowd.”