A public school district in Virginia has voted to resume displaying four-foot-high copies of the Ten Commandments in the district’s five schools and its technology center.
The Giles County School District hung these posters next to a copy of the Constitution for the past 10 years. Last December, after receiving a complaint from the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and advice from the school attorney, the district replaced the Commandments with the Declaration of Independence.
In January, dozens of parents and pastors told the school board that schools should reinforce God’s teachings and convinced the board to repost the Ten Commandments.
“The board, after hearing comments from some members in our community, they felt it was the right thing to do,” Superintendent Terry Arbogast told the Associated Press. The Commandments were back on the wall by the next morning.
The Roanoke Times asked the board to reconsider its decision in an editorial.
“The board’s fundamental error was thinking the display is appropriate,” the newspaper said. “Other faiths and moral systems not even grounded in religion warn against killing, theft and disrespecting parents. Educators can teach and foster those values without citing one particular faith.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional for public schools to post the Ten Commandments. Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF, said the move was “shockingly disrespectful” to the law.
“What if it were Koranic verses? Can you imagine the uproar?” she told the AP in an interview. “If a public official on the school board can’t stand up to peer pressure and uphold the Constitution, there’s something wrong.”