Virginia Schools Remove 10 Commandments Again

First they were up. Then they were down. Then they were up again. And now...

A southwest Virginia school system has again removed all displays of the Ten Commandments, a month after reposting them despite concerns that doing so was unconstitutional.

School officials said the Giles County School Board voted Tuesday to remove the framed, 4-foot-tall, biblical texts.

The Ten Commandments had been posted in the district's five schools and technology center for at least a decade next to framed copies of the U.S. Constitution. School officials removed them in December after a resident complained.

The board reversed its decision Jan. 20 after parents and ministers argued that schools had a moral obligation to reinforce God's teachings.

More than 200 county residents showed up for an afternoon board meeting on Jan. 20 to share their opinions. From the Roanoke Times:

"You have a moral obligation to what is right," Elwood Lambert of Narrows said to the board. "Do not let our future children be deprived of this right -- a God-given right."

The crowd clapped and cheered, and many answered "Amen."

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, told the Roanoke Times she was angered when she heard about the school board's decision.

"Anybody with any common sense could see why you cannot put religious dogma on the walls of the school," she told the paper. "This is just a travesty; it's shocking."

Civil-rights groups say the displays violated the Constitution's separation of church and state. Even after the latest move, those against having the Commandments in the schools said they're still preparing their lawsuit.

“We’re skeptical that this new move is the end of it,” ACLU attorney Rebecca Glenberg told the Roanoke Times on Tuesday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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