Ohio School Faces Lawsuit Over Jesus Portrait
Feb 14, 2013 10:44 AM EST
The Jackson City School district is facing a federal lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio, charging that the school illegally supports Christianity in public school by displaying a Jesus Christ portrait, reported the Associated Press.
School officials asserted that the portrait was presented to the school by a Christian-based student club in 1947. The school maintained that the portrait is part of "limited public forum" which allows students to hand portraits of "inspirational figures central to the club's meaning and purpose," according to the AP.
"It's not government speech, it is a private speech," said Superintendent Phil Howard, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Less than 100 people applauded after the board approved the policy.
The Dispatch further reported that David Shaw, a Washington, D.C. lawyer, told the school board, "It's unconstitutional to take it down as private speech. You can't discriminate against it as private speech."
ACLU spokesman Nick Worne has reserved comment until he has had time to review the details of the school board's decision, reported The Inquistr. He does however state that his feelings about the placement of the portrait of Jesus have not changed.
"Our position on this is clear: We believe the portrait is unconstitutional sponsorship of religion and should be removed," he said.
However, the school officials have decided to continue hanging the Jesus Christ portrait until the court order.