This is the 10 Commandments at the Connellsville Area Junior High outside of Pittsburgh, PA. It is covered in plywood this week, awaiting removal, off of school grounds, as clear violation of the First Amendment.
The complaint in August and planned removal at the start of the school year was reported in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review with remarkably even-handed coverage. In the article, the School District Superintendent, Dan Lujetic, and District Solicitor, Chris Stern, were very clear about the Constitutional constraints (emphasis added):
The district plans to comply — a move that is unpopular but necessary to avoid a costly lawsuit, [Lujectic] said. “It’s been here since 1957, and now we have to remove it,” Lujetic said. “If we wanted to fight this, there’s no way we would win.”
District solicitor Chris Stern concluded that law prohibits such a monument on school property. It was first covered with plastic and duct tape, but someone tore off that covering. Since school began Tuesday, plywood has shielded the monument.
The law is clear that state-related agencies should not act “in a way that would indicate some alignment with religion or non-religion,” said attorney Marcus Schneider, whose firm, Steele Schneider Attorneys at Law, represents the complaining parent. “There haven’t been any cases upheld which allowed a religious monument to stand on school grounds,” Schneider said.
“Courts … make decisions all the time that are unpopular, but they’re answering to the Constitution,” Stern said. “This is our attempt to comply with the law.”
Of course, there was the usual disgruntled parents:
That displeased two parents picking up their daughters at the school on Friday afternoon. “What are we teaching our kids? What kind of message are we sending to our children?” asked Paula Grubach of South Connellsville.
The answer is simple, Paula. The Connellsville School District is teaching the kids about the U.S. Constitution, which is a topic that some of the parents are need of schooling, as well.