- (Photo: Misty Tenbrink)
A school district in Kansas has refused to remove a cross from a public school building after a Washington, D.C.-based church-and-state watchdog group asked them to do so.
Spearville Schools USD 381 has decided to not take action regarding a complaint sent to them last year by Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS).
Daryl Stegman, superintendent of Spearville Schools, told The Christian Post that the leadership for the small western Kansas town's school district will not take action.
"It has been the consensus of the Board of Education to take no action at this time," said Stegman, adding that it "appears the community supports leaving the cross."
At the center of the controversy is Spearville Elementary, a kindergarten through fifth grade establishment that is the only public elementary school in the district.
According to Stegman, the facility used by the public elementary school was originally constructed in 1925 and was known as "Saint Johns School" until the "school district purchased the building in 1975."
Last November, AUSCS sent a letter to Stegman and Spearville Elementary Principal Marvin Hartzler regarding the cross atop the school building.
"Because the display of a cross on public-school property violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, we ask that you remove the cross," reads the letter.
The letter was signed by AUSCS Legal Director Ayesha N. Khan, Associate Legal Director Alex J. Luchenitser, and staff attorney Ian Smith.
Smith told The Christian Post about how his organization learned of the cross on the top of Spearville Elementary.
"We received a complaint through our online complaint form, along with a picture of the cross," said Smith, who added that "the district has decided not to respond to us and to leave the cross in place unless and until a lawsuit is filed."