FFRF court victory! School district to remove Ten Commandments monument

The School Board of the Connellsville Area School District voted last night to remove from school grounds the Ten Commandments monument that was at the heart of a federal lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and a parent of a student. In a unanimous vote, the board approved returning the monument to the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

U.S. District Court Judge Terrance McVerry ruled on Aug. 28 that the Ten Commandments monument at Connellsville Junior High School is unconstitutional and “runs afoul of the Establishment Clause.” Community members had speculated that the district might not remove the 4.5-foot-tall decalogue, despite the court opinion.

The Herald-Standard reported that the District’s legal counsel informed the board that the judge “already made a determination, in my view, of the constitutionality.”

The decision to remove the Ten Commandments will bring to an end a three-year legal battle over the monument. FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said, “We’re delighted that reason will prevail and school First Amendment precedent will be followed. Returning these biblical edicts to the Eagles is the rational solution.”

The case (No. 2:12-cv-01406) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. FFRF thanks Pittsburgh-based attorney Marcus Schneider and FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott for their representation of the plaintiffs.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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