Monday, February 28, 2011

School Bans Ten Commandments, ACLU Defends Christians

After Virginia schools stripped students' locker doors of their postings of the Ten Commandments, both Christian advocacy defenders and the ACLU have come to the defense of the Christian students.

-- From "ACLU defends Floyd athletes over Ten Commandments" by WSLS-TV Staff Reports 2/25/11

The ACLU of Virginia has come to the defense of a group of Christian athletes in Floyd County.

In an e-mail sent Friday afternoon, the civil liberties group said it had e-mailed the principal of Floyd Co. High School (FHS), and urged him to allow students to post their personal views, including copies of the Ten Commandments, on the lockers.

The e-mail comes one day after WSLS first reported that members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at FHS claims school leaders took down the copies of the Ten Commandments on their lockers.

School leaders would not confirm or deny the incident to WSLS. They would only state school policy that messages other than those such as 'happy birthday,' or 'go team,' were allowed to be posted on lockers without school administration permission.

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From "2nd Va. school mired in Ten Commandments flap" by Jeff Sturgeon, The Roanoke Times 2/26/11

Leaders of a second New River Valley school system are now caught up in the disagreement over schoolhouse displays of the Ten Commandments.

And civil liberties groups are again inserting themselves in the dispute. This time, in the latest flashpoint at Floyd County High School, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Liberty Counsel — not always on the same side of such issues — are in agreement that students who displayed the Ten Commandments on the outside of lockers had the right to do so.

The Liberty Counsel is a not-for-profit firm based in Orlando, Fla. that promotes religious freedom. It said it was told that administrators removed copies of the Ten Commandments placed by members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Thursday at Floyd High.

Mathew Staver, Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman, said school officials are free to ban locker displays all together. But if displays or decorations are allowed, as Liberty Counsel was told, it is not legal for administrators to allowing some student displays and not others, Staver said.

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From "Ten Commandments targeted for banishment" by Bob Unruh © 2011 WorldNetDaily 2/28/11

Liberty Counsel dispatched a letter [to the school] suggesting – strongly – that the policy and practice be changed . . . [and] set a deadline of March 15 for the school to respond.

Liberty Counsel wrote to the school on behalf of Ralph and Tambra Agee, whose son, Jacob, is a student at Floyd County High School.

"Jacob then met with Principal Hollandsworth who explained that he could not permit students to use the face of their lockers for religious expression because if he did, students of all religions could use their lockers for religious expressions of their respective religions," the letter said.

"Today, school officials have also suggested that prior approval is necessary for student expressions on their assigned lockers."

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