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Butte schools to pay $70K over banned grad speech

BUTTE (AP) — The Butte School District is paying $70,000 in attorney fees for a former Butte High valedictorian who was banned from speaking at graduation because she refused to remove references to religion from her speech.

The Montana Standard reports the school board was informed during its meeting Monday that the district's insurer would pay for Renee Griffith's attorney fees. Her lawsuit against the district did not seek monetary damages.

Griffith was banned from speaking at her graduation in 2008 because she refused to remove the words "God" and "Christ" from her speech.

The Montana Human Rights Bureau and a District Court judge ruled in the school district's favor, but the Montana Supreme Court ruled in November 2010 that Griffith's free speech rights were violated.

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