Kentucky School District Removes Decalogue Displays From Classrooms

A Kentucky school district has decided to remove multiple Decalogue displays from various school classrooms in response to a complaint from a secular group.

Breathitt County Public Schools made the decision to remove the Ten Commandments from classrooms after a letter was sent to them by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Nancy Rodriguez, spokeswoman for Breathitt Schools, provided The Christian Post with a statement by the Kentucky Board of Education, saying that the displays were removed "to ensure compliance with federal law."

"The letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation alerted the school district to an issue regarding display of the Ten Commandments in school buildings," said the Kentucky BOE. "A school or district that displays copies of the Ten Commandments without the inclusion of other historical documents and not as part of a historical/comparative display is in violation of the U.S. Constitution."

Earlier this month, the FFRF sent a letter of complaint to Larry Hammond, manager of Breathitt Public Schools regarding the Ten Commandments displays. According to local media, an unnamed student was the one who informed the secular group about the displays. Patrick C. Elliot, staff attorney for FFRF, wrote the letter.

"No court has upheld the display of the Ten Commandments in a public school, even when the Ten Commandments were among other displays," wrote Elliot.

"Although the Supreme Court allowed a long-standing Ten Commandments monument on government property in one unique context, the Court made clear that such displays in public schools are unconstitutional."

Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, echoed in a statement the sentiment of both the Elliot letter and the decision of the Board of Education regarding the displays.

"The Supreme Court ruled on this very issue over 30 years ago. It is unacceptable that a public school system would willfully violate the Constitution in this manner in 2013," said Gaylor.

Despite the agreement between FFRF and the Kentucky education officials, not everyone is pleased with the decision. Mary Campbell, a local businesswoman, told local media that she disagreed with the removal of the displays.

"I am totally against it. I think that we need the Ten Commandments in the schools. I think all kids should learn it. It is everybody's choice what they believe," said Campbell to WYMT TV.

Frank G. Simon, director of the American Family Association of Kentucky, told The Christian Post that in his opinion "the Ten Commandments should be left in the schools."

"The Ten Commandments are the basis of our laws in America. To take them out of Breathitt County Schools is to ask for even more addiction in Breathitt County," said Simon, alluding to the many problems the school district has among its student body.

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