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Graduation Ceremony Canceled After Rock Anthem Nixed

June 7, 1992

CLIFTON, N.J. (AP) _ Officials at a Roman Catholic school who earlier said students couldn’t perform the rock song ″We Are the Champions″ at their eighth-grade graduation have now canceled the ceremony entirely.

Officials at Sacred Heart School had feared further turmoil if graduation were held as scheduled June 12, principal Donald Quinlan said.

Parents were notified of the decision by phone Friday, The Record of Hackensack reported Saturday. Some said they might protest Monday or make plans to hold their own graduation ceremony for their children.

The school also canceled Monday’s scheduled trip to the Pocono mountains and won’t allow the students to attend a Safety Patrol picnic sponsored by the Clifton Board of Education, The Herald & News of Passaic said.

Last month, Quinlan said the students couldn’t perform the song ″We Are the Champions″ by the rock group Queen.

Several students complained that Quinlan banned the song because Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury, was bisexual. Mercury died of AIDS in November.

Diocese spokeswoman Mary Aktay said only songs appropriate to a church setting are allowed at graduation. She said ″We Are The Champions,″ a song often played to promote sports events, might be appropriate for a pep rally.

The students eventually apologized for protesting Quinlan’s banning of the song, but some said they only did so because they wanted to attend graduation ceremonies and the picnic.

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