updated 5/12/2004 11:32:19 AM ET 2004-05-12T15:32:19

A school district agreed as part of a legal settlement to apologize to a high school valedictorian whose yearbook quote was removed because it was a Bible verse.

Abby Moler, a 2001 graduate, was among students asked to offer their thoughts for Stevenson High School’s yearbook. Her entry included Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”’

School officials told Moler at the time that her quote was deleted because of its religious nature. The Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union announced the settlement Tuesday. Utica Community Schools officials declined to comment.

The ACLU said that under the terms of the settlement, the school district agreed to place a sticker with Moler’s original entry in copies of the yearbook on file at the high school; ordered current yearbook staff to not censor other religious or political speech; to train its staff on free speech and religious freedom issues; and to write Moler a letter of regret.

Moler, who did not seek money as part of her lawsuit, said she fought the case because she wanted to shed light on an issue that was misunderstood in public schools.

“I’m thrilled,” said Moler, a college student who plans to become a teacher. “We got everything we asked for. I received a wonderful education from Utica schools, and now that I’m entering the teaching profession, I wanted to do my part in maintaining the excellence in education.”

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