The Letcher County School District removed a Bible verse from its sports locker room wall as well as a bulletin board after a complaint from the atheist group Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF).
The FFRF sent the district a letter in November claiming that the message violated the Constitution.
“I was completely taken by surprise,” Superintendent Denise Yonts said.
She immediately consulted the school board attorney for advice.
“We are not permitted to influence students’ religious beliefs as public school employees,” Yonts said.
They decided to remove the panel because it was not a student-generated display. The law states that any religious manifestation in schools must be made by a student and not by an adult.
“Our goal is to follow the law so that we can protect all of our students’ religious freedoms. In doing so, it allows them to express their religious rights and that is what we want. We want what is best for our students in Letcher County,” Yonts said.
Yonts said only non-compliant screens were removed.
“As superintendent, I’m here to look after children and make sure they’re educated. I’m not here to attack political parties or other organizations,” Yonts said.
The FFRF said in a statement posted on its website that it was satisfied with the district’s decision.
“We commend the district for taking action to address this violation,” said FFRF Co-Chair Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Students in our public schools are free to practice the religion of their choice or not at all.”
Yonts said she hasn’t received any complaints from parents, but has received nasty messages from people across the country.