Jackson, OH School Officials Say Jesus Portrait Is Staying In School

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

UPDATED: 02/13/2013

JACKSON, Ohio (AP) - A small southern Ohio city in the mostly rural Appalachia region suddenly finds itself as the latest battleground in a national legal debate over what displays of religion are constitutional or not.

Since just after World War II, a Jesus portrait has hung in a Jackson City Schools building, attracting little discussion and no controversy that anyone recalls. But a Wisconsin-based group actively opposed to religious displays in schools stirred things up last month by writing the school board, saying it received a complaint.

A federal lawsuit followed, but the school district is countering with a claim that it is protecting its students' rights. Board members voted late Tuesday to keep the portrait up, while allowing other student groups to hang portraits related to their club's focus.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


02/12/2013

JACKSON, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio school board is set to meet over how it will respond to a federal lawsuit seeking removal of a portrait of Jesus that hangs prominently in its middle school.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation say the large portrait unconstitutionally promotes religion. They filed a lawsuit last week in U.S. district court on behalf on an unidentified student and two parents.

The Jackson City Schools board will meet Tuesday evening in an elementary school gym.

Superintendent Phil Howard says the district was "shocked and surprised" at the suit. Attorneys for the district have been examining the matter.

The district says the portrait was donated by a student group and has been in the school since about 1947.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


02/07/2013

JACKSON, Ohio (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union and another group are asking a federal judge to make a southern Ohio middle school take down its portrait of Jesus.

The ACLU of Ohio and the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation contend the large portrait hanging in a public school violates constitutional requirement for separation of church and state, and promotes a single religion.

Their lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. district court following complaints by both groups to Jackson City Schools.

A message for comment was left Thursday at the school district, some 65 miles south of Columbus.

School officials had said earlier that the portrait, at the Jackson Middle School building since 1947, has historical importance and that they planned to leave it in place.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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