Connellsville Area School Board voted to return the Ten Commandments monument on the property of Connellsville Junior High School to the Connellsville Eagles.
The unanimous vote was held during Wednesday night's meeting and two weeks since a federal judge ruled that the district keeping the monument on school grounds is considered unconstitutional; however, Senior U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry did not order that the monument be removed.
Connellsville Area School District Solicitor Chris Stern said the reason it wasn't removed was that the lawsuit was a moot point because the student whose family originally objected to the monument no longer attends the district.
The plaintiff, who was not named in the case, was awarded $1, but once that amount of money was awarded, Stern said the district is obligated to pay for attorney fees.
The judge's decision means the district is open for more lawsuits from students or parents.
“It doesn't protect us from more litigation,” said Jon Detwiler, board president.
Board member Kevin Lape said he, like others on the board, is in favor of keeping the monument, but the district cannot afford to spend more money on future litigation.
And now it has to leave.
Freedom won today - we must be free from government intrusion into matters of religious conscience. Those who don't believe have just as much 1st Amendment protection as those who do. And just as the government has no right to tell a Baptist that they MUST be Catholic (or vice verse), the government has no right to tell a non-believer that he or she must believe in a god.
This freedom protects all of us - believers and non-believers alike.
Most importantly and specifically, no school board (are you listening New Kensington??) has the right to post such an obviously religious message as the Decalogue on school property.
One slab down and one to go. Are you listening, New Kensington? When can we celebrate religious freedom in your town?