The portrait of Jesus hanging in Royster Middle School must go, the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote today to Chanute Public Schools, Kansas.
A print of Warner Sallman's "Head of Christ" is prominently displayed in the school. This is "an egregious violation of the First Amendment," said FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel.
The exact same painting was at issue when FFRF and the ACLU of Ohio filed a lawsuit against Jackson City School District in Jackson, Ohio in 2013. The school settled the suit, agreeing to permanently remove the portrait of Jesus and pay $95,000, including attorney's fees, Seidel told the district.
A federal court has also held that the same portrait could not be displayed in a public school.
"The Supreme Court has stressed the importance of protecting public school students from these types of messages," said Seidel in a letter to Superintendent Richard Proffitt. "It is illegal for Royster Middle School or any other Chanute public school to post religious images in its hallways, or anywhere else that appears to be school-sponsored. If this picture of Jesus is displayed, as we are told, the District must remove it at once."
FFRF is a national state/church watchdog with more than 22,700 members, including over 130 members in Kansas.