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Ohio Student Goes on Strike to Protest Removal of Ten Commandments from High School

( [email protected] ) Dec 15, 2014 07:15 PM EST
An Ohio high school student has announced that he's going on strike to bring attention to a recent decision by the school's principal to remove a plaque displaying the Ten Commandments.
A Harding High School student is on strike after the removal of the Ten Commandments from a display. Photo: Wikipedia

An Ohio high school student has announced that he's going on strike to bring attention to a recent decision by the school's principal to remove a plaque displaying the Ten Commandments.

Harding High School Freshman Anthony Miller says he doesn't care about his grades right now as his strike involves no homework or classwork until an agreement is reached about the Biblical display.

"I will not participate in any Harding-related activities, any Marion City Schools-related activities," Miller told the Marion Star on Thursday. "Sports, choir, classes, whatever. I won't even wear my Harding Marching Band shirt."

The plaque was originally a gift from the school's class of 1953 and was displayed in a hallway next to the Preamble to the United States Constitution.

School superintendent Gary Barber said that Principal Kirk Koennecke was the one who made the decision to remove the plaque back in AUgust after he says several people complained about the public school displaying the religious plaque.

"Our responsibility, when we're challenged, is we do what's in line with the law," Barber said, although he points out that the decision was "not made arbitrarily" because of the fact that it was a gift.

A statement from city schools says that the district removed the plaque "after watching other Ohio school districts face legal challenges to their decision to keep the Ten Commandments posted."

In 2009, a granite tablet was removed from an Adams County, Ohio public school after complaints came in of the religious "symbol." Over 50 protesters showed up at the scene to show how upset they were over the removal of the display from Peeples High School. "I am willing to do whatever it takes - to be arrested or whatever," said Rev. Phil Fulton, who was detained during the protests. "This is our religious right. This is our freedom of speech."

But Miller's current protest might actually be working as the superintendent met with the student last Wednesday morning to discuss a course of action. Both sides agreed to revisit the issue on January 6 to start discussing an alternative location to display the Ten Commandments plaque.

But Barber also hopes to get more students involved in the discussion to work with local faith leaders and find the best home for the display. The principal adds that students will have "involvement and input" into the final decision.

But while Miller waits for the January 6 meeting, his strike continues. Three fellow students who support Miller have created a petition to bring the plaque back to the original location. Shanna Morris, Cheyenne Abrams, and Sydney Cook created the petition and broke the story to the Harding Herald newspaper last Friday. The students hope to gather enough interest from their peers to show the school officials that they want the plaque in their school.

Miller has even said that he would accept other religious displays along with the Ten Commandments, as long as no one was being forced to follow one belief system over another.

The school officials say that Miller will not face punishment for his strike, as long as he doesn't disrupt normal classroom activities.