Commandments Come Down In West Virginia School

August 27, 1999

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LOGAN, WV -- One day after being posted in Logan County schools, the Ten Commandments are coming down, the Associated Press reported today.

School board attorney Brian Abraham recommended at a Thursday night meeting that the signs be taken down to avoid possible lawsuits.

The Ten Commandments were posted in Logan County schools Thursday, prompting disapproval from the state's superintendent of schools and threats of a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The biblical instructions, recorded in the book of Exodus as coming from God to Moses on Mount Sinai, were listed on 81/2-by 11-inch paper and placed on hallway walls in the county's public schools.

West Virginia Schools Superintendent Hank Marockie disagreed with the posting of the Biblical verse.

"In my opinion, displaying the Ten Commandments is a violation of church and state laws. If we allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed, then what about the Koran? Shouldn't we display that, because every religious group has its own values," he said.

Hilary Chiz, executive director of West Virginia's ACLU chapter, also objected to the posting.

"The ACLU doesn't want to back the Logan County school system into the corner, but putting up the Ten Commandments is simply not the right thing to do," Chiz said. "It's a cheap and easy solution to school violence. But it's offensive to some people and it's divisive."

Chiz said a 1980 Supreme Court decision in Kentucky "clearly ruled against allowing the display of the Ten Commandments.".

Hardesty told the AP that "We just want to do anything we can to help make our schools safer."

However, the newswire today also announced the results of an AP poll revealing that most schools are safe. According to the article, while two-thirds of Americans say that posting police officers in school hallways would help cut violence, four out of five felt that schools in their communities are relatively safe.

Posting the Ten Commandments in schools violates the U.S. Bill of Rights, which requires separation of church and state, according to most legal scholars.

But the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a measure permitting the posting of the Ten Commandments at schools and other state-run facilities.

In June, a US Representative from Colorado proposed a bill that would limit the ability of parents to challenge the constitutionality of religious memorials in the public schools. And a resolution that encourages schools to post the 10 Commandments was proposed by a Representative from Alabama.

These amendments were adopted by large margins and became part of the pending juvenile justice bill. Read the ACLU release at /news/1999/n061799a.html

Statistics image