The Jackson City School District in Jackson, Ohio, reached a deal on Friday after the ACLU, along with the Freedom from Religion Foundation, sued the district in February, citing “unconstitutional” actions and charging that students and visitors to the school and subjected to…a picture of Jesus hanging on the wall… “will continue to suffer permanent, severe and irreparable harm and injury,” according to the lawsuit.
According to Fox News, the district faced pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union, so they decided to pay the $95,000 in fines to the ACLU and Freedom From Religion Foundation for damages and legal fees, because the school eventually agreed that it was better to pay the settlement rather than spend taxpayer dollars on fighting the lawsuit, said Phil Howard, the district’s superintendent.
“All of this was unnecessary. The law is pretty clear … the display of this particular kind of religious artifact, in a public school, is unconstitutional.” He added, “The case could have ended before it began if the school had simply acknowledged that it is not the government’s place to endorse one specific religion in a public school that children are legally required to attend,” said James Hardiman, the legal director for Ohio’s ACLU chapter.
Superintendent Phil Howard said in a statement that the district’s attorneys believed settling was the “best case scenario” at this point because legal fees were “mounting by the day.”
According to ABC, The picture had been hanging in Jackson, Ohio high school since 1947 in their “Hall of Honor” display, which is meant to highlight famous historical figures. The two sides had a pseudo-agreement months ago that bogged down in more legal filings after the two groups said the school district continued to keep the Jesus portrait.
They also had the nerve to display it on the school lawn during a prayer meeting. Court filings show the portrait was also visible to those entering a storage area.
What do you think? Is this serious rights-infringement or simply someone making a big deal and over-reacting over a portrait? Would this have happened over other religious figures?
Image via youtube