School board considers putting Ten Commandments up in schools

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CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Cleveland County school leaders are considering a proposal to place the Ten Commandments at public schools across the district.         

The move has attracted the attention of a national watchdog group that says the plan is illegal and the district could face legal action if it moves forward.

The county’s school board is considering a proposal to place the Ten Commandments at all 30 schools in the district.

School administrators are drafting a policy that would place the commandments “in a prominent place at or near the main entrance to all of our campuses.”

Board members say the display would be permitted under a 2001 North Carolina law that allows schools to display certain documents, like the Ten Commandments, through a historical, not religious lens.

“The Constitution trumps state law,” attorney Chris Line said.

Line, who is with the watchdog group Freedom from Religion Foundation, says the proposal is unconstitutional. After hearing from several residents, the group sent a complaint letter to the school district’s attorney.

“The case law on this is pretty clear. Nothing like this has been found in court to be legal in a school context. So, hopefully, the attorney is able to explain this to them and they will not go through with this,” Line said.

Board member Danny Blanton tells FOX 46 that he doesn’t see a problem with displaying the Ten Commandments, but adds that his priority right now is COVID-19 and getting students back on track with their education.

Chair Robert Queen says the proposal has been sent to the policy committee, which will make recommendations to the board, but there’s no timeline.

There is a school board meeting Monday night, but displaying the Ten Commandments is not on the agenda.

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