Students from Winfield, WV are upset that religion based traditi - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Students from Winfield, WV are upset that religion based tradition has been called off

Posted: Updated:
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Department of Health Alleges Unsafe Practices at McMechen Pain Management Clinic

    Department of Health Alleges Unsafe Practices at McMechen Pain Management Clinic

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 4:20 PM EDT2014-07-22 20:20:59 GMT
    The Ohio Department of Health and the West Virginia Department of Health are encouraging patients of a McMechen pain management clinic to talk with their primary care physician about testing for some infectious diseases following an investigation of the facility by the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health.
    The Ohio Department of Health and the West Virginia Department of Health are encouraging patients of a McMechen pain management clinic to talk with their primary care physician about testing for some infectious diseases following an investigation of the facility by the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health.
  • UPDATE: Man shot during fight on Charleston's east end

    UPDATE: Man shot during fight on Charleston's east end

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:10 PM EDT2014-07-23 01:10:50 GMT
    A man was shot in the hand during a robbery on Charleston's east end on July 22 at about 10:30 a.m.
    A man was shot in the hand during a robbery on Charleston's east end on July 22 at about 10:30 a.m.
  • UPDATE: Dirty Girl Mud Run scheduled in Charleston, WV now canceled

    UPDATE: Dirty Girl Mud Run scheduled in Charleston, WV now canceled

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:38 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:38:13 GMT
    UPDATE: 13 NEWS has learned the Dirty Girl Mud Run has been officially canceled for this weekend in Charleston. 
    UPDATE: 13 NEWS has learned the Dirty Girl Mud Run has been officially canceled for this weekend in Charleston. 
WINFIELD, WV -

Students at Winfield High School in Winfield, WV have started a petition asking the Putnam County Board of Education to reconsider their decision to remove a popular graduation day tradition.

Coach Leon McCoy is well known in Winfield, WV. He has made it a tradition to speak at Winfield High School's graduation. But after complaints from some parents about the religious theme in his presentation the speech has been called off.

Students are fighting back.

"I think it is very disappointing and unfortunate that Coach McCoy can't speak," said senior Hannah Clark. She said when she was a sophomore at Winfield High School McCoy promised her that he would speak at her graduation. Now he will not be allowed to keep that promise.

"The fact that it is being taken away on the year I get to graduate is really disappointing," said student Chris Cochran.

The Putnam County Board of Education in Putnam County decided the speech he has been giving for years violates a Supreme Court ruling that bans state sponsored prayer in public schools.

"I'm lost. I have done it for so long," McCoy said.

Superintendent of Putnam County Schools Chuck Hatfield released a statement on the matter Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, whether we agree with a law or not, all public schools, including Winfield, are in the position of making decisions that must comply with the law. This decision is not about anyone's personal thoughts, feelings or beliefs," Hatfield said. "Leon McCoy has had a huge impact at Winfield High School, and I have supported him and consider him to be one of my dear friends. Whether I support him or not, I have to uphold the law."

Students said they will follow the rules but plan to continue fighting for their beliefs.

"Now I have to take a good look at it and admit by their standards I am breaking the law," McCoy said.

Winfield High School's graduation is set for June 5.