Two public elementary schools in Texas have covered dedication plaques that referenced God with duct tape after receiving a complaint for the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). The Midlothian Independent School District confirmed that the plaques had been covered temporarily and will eventually be replaced with dedication plaques that do not reference religion.
The plaques displayed at Mountain Peak Elementary School and Longbranch Elementary School read, “Dedicated in the year of our Lord 1997 to the education of God’s children and their faithful teachers in the name of the Holy Christian Church. Soli Deo Gloria.”
When a Texas resident informed the FFRF about the plaques on display, the atheist organization wrote a letter to the school district, demanding that they be taken down.
“It should go without saying that a public elementary school may not proclaim ‘glory to God alone’ nor dedicate itself to a particular church,” the group said in a statement.
District Superintendent Jerome Stewart said that the FFRF did not threaten legal action. Still, the school’s district attorney suggested to heed the demands of the organization because “it would not prevail in court if it refused FFRF’s request and a lawsuit followed.”
Liberty Institute Director of Litigation Hiram Sasser said, “No school should ever take action based on an FFRF letter. The censorship of these plaques sends a message of division and hostility to the community.”
Many parents and community members were distraught by the district’s decision. A Facebook group “Bring Back the Plaques” has gained over 5,300 members.
Publication date: August 28, 2014