Relaymedia

Jesus Portrait Taken Down In Ohio Middle School After Legal Threats

( [email protected] ) Apr 03, 2013 10:50 AM EDT
A Jesus portrait that has hung in a southern Ohio middle school for more than 60 years, was taken down Wednesday, for fears of potential costs from a federal lawsuit filed by a student and two parents against its display.
FILE-This Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 file photo shows a painting of Jesus Christ, upper left, hanging above an entrance to Jackson Middle School in Jackson, Ohio next to a AP photo/Columbus Dispatch, Doral Chenoweth III, File

A Jesus portrait that has hung in a southern Ohio middle school for more than 60 years, was taken down Wednesday, for fears of potential costs from a federal lawsuit filed by a student and two parents against its display.

The portrait has been taken down three days since Easter Sunday. The decision to remove the portrait from Jackson Middle School was made after the district’s insurance company refused to cover litigation fees.

"At the end of the day, we just couldn't roll the dice with taxpayer money," Superintendent Phil Howard told The Associated Press. "When you get into these kinds of legal battles, you're not talking about money you can raise with bake sales and car washes. It's not fair to take those resources from our kids' education."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom from Religion Foundation had sued on behalf of a student and two parents, calling the portrait an unconstitutional promotion of religion in a public school.

The student and parents were not publicly identified. Their identities were kept secret due to facing possible backlash from those that supported the Jesus portrait being up. Some said that this student and the parents should leave town and find another school.