A public school district in Pennsylvania agreed to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from public school property by March 15. Its decision comes after a years-long legal battle with the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
“In order to take the high road, as they say, we compromised and agreed to remove the monument,” said John Pallone, the new district superintendent, according to Trib Live.
The school district was originally resistant to removing the monument. In 2012, George Batterson, the then superintendent, addressed a letter the FFRF sent him, disclosing its intent to sue, according to WPXI News.
“We’ve decided to take a hard line on this,” Batterson said. “We have legal counsel, and we are not going to remove the Ten Commandments.”
Marie Schaub filed the lawsuit with the help of the FFRF in 2012, on the grounds she had to remove her daughter from Valley High School because the monument was unavoidably offensive.
“Students in our public schools are free to have any god they like, as many gods as they like – or none at all!” said FFRF co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor, in an FFRF press release. “In America, we live under the First Amendment, not the First Commandment.”
When news of the controversy reached the community, Batterson received over 1,000 emails and calls in support of the monument, and three messages opposing it, according to WPXI News.
Superintendent Pallone said many people do not notice the placement of the monument at the school.
“I walked past that thing literally thousands of times and never knew it was there,” Pallone said.
In the end, The school district decided to settle, rather than prolong the court case. They agreed to remove the monument and pay $40,000 to the FFRF.
“We’re in a position where we just can’t continue to fight this distraction,” Pallone said, according to Trib Live.
Schaub is pleased with the outcome of the lawsuit, according to the FFRF press release.
“It’s been a drawn-out fight but my family and I are grateful to everyone who has helped us finally right a wrong that was committed so long ago,” Schaub said.