Ten Commandments Monument In Connellsville At Center Of Controversy
CONNELLSVILLE (KDKA) — The Ten Commandments monument that stood outside of a school in Fayette County for more than 50 years has been covered after a national group says it received a complaint.
The monument was donated to the Connellsville Area School District by the local Eagles, and has been outside Connellsville Jr. High East since 1957.
It has now been covered by plywood.
On Aug. 1, Superintendent Dan Lujetic received a letter from an advocacy group in Washington saying the monument needed to come down.
“I thought that it’s interesting that it’s been here this many years and we’ve never had a complaint before and now all of the sudden somebody brought it to light that we need to remove it,” said Dr. Lujetic.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent the letter after receiving a complaint from an unidentified parent in the district.
On Aug. 29, the district got another letter from a Pittsburgh attorney citing Supreme Court cases that say it’s unconstitutional for a public school to display the Ten Commandments.
“I consulted with the school board and with our solicitor and he recommended that if we fought this, which we considered doing, we’d spend a lot of taxpayer money on something we can’t win; so we decided not to pursue that,” Dr. Lujetic added.
Americans United staff attorney Ian Smith released a statement Friday saying:
“Americans United is opposed to governmental displays of the Ten Commandments because it sends the message that the government endorses the Commandments’ religious sentiments despite the commands of the United States Constitution, which require the government to remain neutral with regard to religion.”
The monument was covered on Tuesday when students returned to class.
For now, it remains on school property where many in the community believe it should stay.
“I think it’s wrong that it’s covered up,” said Olive Bigley, a parent. “I think we all have a right in what we believe in, and I believe it should be there and for those that don’t know God, I mean, it’s a good sight for everyone to see.”
“Just appalled,” added Kellie Herman, a resident who lives near the school. “A lot of parents don’t go to church, and they don’t take their children, a least it’s something there for the kids to read and hopefully one day remember.”
Connellsville Area School District is looking for a place to move the monument off of school property. They are hoping the move will take place in the next couple of weeks.