Gallia County Local Schools (Ohio) will no longer endorse religion on the cover of its yearbooks, after a protest by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The PTO of Addaville Elementary School printed and distributed yearbooks for students with a large cross bearing the word “BELIEVE” on the cover. FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote to the school district on Sept. 26, 2014, informing the district, “The inclusion of the Latin cross, which is the preeminent symbol of Christianity, on a public elementary school yearbook, is illegal.”
An attorney for the school district forwarded Markert two letters sent by the superintendent to parents of Addaville students, in which the district explained that they were “strictly prohibited by law from endorsing any religion and from displaying any religious message or symbol,” and that the yearbooks were therefore inappropriate. The superintendent also wrote the PTO, saying, “in the future, the PO must refrain from displaying any religious message or symbol in publications that are or appear to be sponsored by or associated with the Gallia County Local School District.”