Portrait of Jesus won’t resurrect in Jackson schools

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and individual plaintiffs in mid-July agreed to settle their lawsuit against the public school district in Jackson, Ohio, for displaying a large portrait of Jesus above the entrance to Jackson Middle School. The district, which had previously removed the portrait, has agreed to permanent removal.

Details of the global settlement of the issues will be released once they are approved by U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley and by a probate court. Two of the plaintiffs are minors. The parties must file their settlement agreement with the district court within 90 days.

Defendants are the Jackson City School District and Board of Education and Superintendent Phil Howard.

FFRF and the Ohio ACLU first sued on behalf of students and parents over a display in a middle school. The district then moved the portrait to a prominent hallway at the high school. Although the district then removed the portrait, it was mysteriously exhumed for use at a Prayer at the Pole event on the National Day of Prayer. It also made a guest appearance in front of a prayer rally at City Hall.

FFRF and the ACLU filed the federal suit Feb. 6 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, after FFRF sent an initial letter of complaint Jan. 2 to Howard, who stated “it would take a court order to remove the picture.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation