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Ohio school removes Jesus portrait after ACLU, FFRF complaints

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   April 3, 2013 at 12:07 PM   |   Comments

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April 3 (UPI) -- An Ohio school district has voluntarily ordered a Jackson school to remove a painting of Jesus Christ, after two parents and a student filed a lawsuit calling the portrait unconstitutional, the Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday.

Though Jackson City Schools Superintendent Phil Howard said the school's Christian student club had a right to hang the painting, on display at Jackson Middle School since 1947, because it constituted free speech in a "limited public forum."

But school officials felt that the lawsuit would put too large a strain on the district's finances.

“Our insurance company denied coverage, and we cannot risk taxpayer money at this time,” Howard said in a statement.

After the club moved the portrait to the local high school, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, representing the parents and student, filed a restraining order to have the portrait taken down.

Howard also told Fox 28 in Columbus that there was risk the Christian student group, the Hi-Y club, would consider a lawsuit.

Follow @KateStan and @UPI on Twitter.
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