Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Under the Big Tent . . . err . . . Top

The Harrison County West Virginia school system is at it again!

Having at least come within spittin' distance of their senses, the school board had sought to settle the lawsuit over the portrait of Jesus that had been hanging in the hallway outside the Bridgeport High School principal's office.

Then a student group, Christian Freedom Alliance Group, donated a mirror to hang in the empty space in the hallway where the Jesus portrait once hung. One slight problem ... it came with a plaque with the inscription:

To know the will of God is the highest of all wisdom. The love of Jesus Christ lives within each of us.

On Friday, the new principal, Mark DeFazio, breaking out his big red rubber nose and size 24 shoes, accepted the mirror and hung it where the Christ portrait had been.

Naturally, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the ACLU, representing the plaintiffs, were less than amused:

"This clearly runs afoul of the proposed agreement and therefore would not be able to drop this lawsuit," says ACLU spokesman Andrew Schneider.

Now the ringmaster has shown up to chase the clowns around center ring for a while before the show comes to an end. The district's superintendent, Carl Friebel, Jr., had the plaque removed.

The show's not quite over yet, though. The offer by the plaintiffs is

... to dismiss the case on the condition that the school would not replace the painting with another religious article. The consent order also stipulated that all religious articles in schools across the county must be removed. If these conditions were met, the lawsuit would be dropped and the attorney fees would be waived. Andrew Schneider, executive director of the West Virginia ACLU, said those fees are nearing the $100,000 mark.

But there is no word yet whether the school board has finally accepted these conditions.

Keep your slapsticks at the ready!
P.S. Pass the seltzer! Bring out the miniature cars!

The school board is officially dithering by putting off the decision on whether or not to accept the plaintiff's offer to settle the case until its September 26, 2006 meeting but that may just be a stalling tactic:

School board member Mike Queen says he's confident the board will reject a proposal to dismiss the lawsuit against the portrait of Jesus at Bridgeport High School.
This is shaping up into another disaster like that in Dover for the only people who can be hurt here: the students who will almost certainly wind up footing the bill, one way or another.

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