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school forced to remove jesus portrait and pay $100,000 in settlement



A portrait of Jesus hangs in the hallway at Jackson Middle School in Jackson, Ohio.

A portrait of Jesus hangs in the hallway at Jackson Middle School in Jackson, Ohio.

Ohio School Settles in Jesus Portrait Case

Since 1947, a middle school in Jackson, Ohio had publicly displayed a portrait of Jesus known as the “Head of Christ” in one of its main hallways.

Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union and a Wisconsin branch of the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued the school in federal court to remove the portrait on behalf of two parents and a student who believed the portrait promoted Christian-only religious beliefs on publicly-funded property.

“At the end of the day, we just couldn’t roll the dice with taxpayer money,” Superintendent Phil Howard told The Associated Press. “When you get into these kinds of legal battles, you’re not talking about money you can raise with bake sales and car washes. It’s not fair to take those resources from our kids’ education.”

After the school district’s insurance company refused to pay any fees related to fighting the matter in court, the school pulled the portrait from the hallway in mid-April. The legal battle continued though when the school did not permanently remove the portrait from its grounds. Instead, it stored the portrait on-site for use in Christian prayer meetings promoted by the Hi-Y Club.

On October 4, the Jackson City School District agreed to remove the portrait once and for all and pay approximately $100,000 in a settlement deal that covers legal fees and damages. Of that amount, $95,000 will be paid by the school district’s insurance.

There’s been no comment in regards to where the school will get the remaining $5,000.

On The Web:

Ohio School, ACLU Settle Suit Over Jesus Portrait

Ohio school forced to remove Jesus portrait

Jesus Portrait Taken Down In Ohio Middle School