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A public high school in Kentucky has removed an inspirational Bible verse from the locker room after a “resident of the affected area” complained.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Letcher County Public Schools in Whitesburg, Ky., in November claiming that the message above the lockers, along with two other religious messages at other schools in the district, “violates the Constitution” by displaying “religious symbols or messages”.
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Bold letters on the wall of the athletic locker room at Central Letcher County High School read, “But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior,” with attribution to Jeremiah 20:11. But in February, school officials removed it.
A message on the bulletin board posted at Fleming Neon Middle School was also cleaned up and read, “Jesus is my saviour, you can’t scare me!” and a prayer for children on the Martha Jane Potter Elementary School Facebook page at the start of the school year.
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“Dear God, thank you for the gift of education in all its forms. As our children prepare to begin a new year, may trust be their foundation, grace be their guide, and hope be their compass. towards a bright future. I pray that they have eyes to see the needs of those around them and a heart to love well. May they face each day with positivity knowing that no matter what happens to them, they will never don’t have to face it alone. Amen.
“The bulletin board has been replaced, the Facebook post has been removed and the locker room has been repainted,” Superintendent Denise Yonts wrote in a February letter to the FFRF.
Yonts’ actions were praised by the Wisconsin-based atheist group.
“We commend the district for taking action to address this violation,” FFRF co-chair Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement. “Students in our public schools are free to practice any religion they choose – or not at all.”
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First Liberty Insitute, a religious freedom law firm that successfully defended the Bladensburg Peace Cross in the Supreme Court, said the district may have taken action too soon.
“It is unfortunate that the school took such a drastic step before fully reviewing the complaint and conducting a proper investigation of the background facts,” Hiram Sasser, First Liberty’s general counsel, told Fox News. “The school may have committed a First Amendment violation by deleting the posts, but until a full investigation is completed, it is impossible to know the correct legal tender.”