School Disagreement Over Display of the Ten Commandments

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From the The Roanoke Times

Leaders of a second New River Valley school system are now caught up in the disagreement over schoolhouse displays of the Ten Commandments.

And civil liberties groups are again inserting themselves in the dispute. This time, in the latest flashpoint at Floyd County High School, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Liberty Counsel — not always on the same side of such issues — are in agreement that students who displayed the Ten Commandments on the outside of lockers had the right to do so.

Floyd County High School Principal Barry Hollandsworth said Friday by e-mail that the school system’s attorney was looking into the matter. He declined to elaborate.

The Liberty Counsel is a not-for-profit firm based in Orlando, Fla. that promotes religious freedom. It said it was told that administrators removed copies of the Ten Commandments placed by members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Thursday at Floyd High.

The organization “stands ready to defend the legal rights” of the students, according to a Thursday letter from Liberty Counsel to Floyd County Public Schools. The letter demanded school administrators reverse their position and allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed.

Mathew Staver, Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman, said school officials are free to ban locker displays all together. But if displays or decorations are allowed, as Liberty Counsel was told, it is not legal for administrators to allowing some student displays and not others, Staver said.

“What they can’t do is selectively censor,” Staver said, “and that is exactly what the school is doing.”

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