Letcher County Schools removes Bible verse after complaint from atheist group

Published: Mar. 4, 2020 at 6:21 PM EST
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Letcher County Schools District removed a Bible verse from the wall of its athletic locker room along with a bulletin board after a complaint from the atheist group Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF).

FFRF sent the district a letter back in November claiming the message violated the Constitution.

"I was completely taken by surprise," said Superintendent Denise Yonts

She immediately consulted with the school board attorney for advice.

"We're not allowed to influence student's religious beliefs as public school employees," said Yonts.

They decided to take the sign down as it was not a student-generated display. Law states that any religious display in schools must be made by a student and not an adult.

"Our goal is to respect the law so that we can protect all of our students' religious freedoms. By doing that it allows them to express their religious rights and that's what we want. We want what's best for our students in Letcher County," said Yonts.

Yonts said only the displays that did not comply with the law were removed.

"As a superintendent I'm here to take care of children and insure that they're educated. I'm not here to attack political sides or other organizations," said Yonts.

FFRF said in a statement on their website they are satisfied with the district's decision.

“We applaud the district for taking action to remedy this violation,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “Students in our public schools are free to practice any religion they choose or none at all.”

Yonts said she has not received parent complaints but has been sent nasty messages from people across the nation.