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Ky. School Displays 10 Commandments

August 12, 1999

MCKEE, Ky. (AP) _ With essentially no community opposition, volunteers placed the Ten Commandments in every classroom in a rural eastern Kentucky school district before classes began on Wednesday.

The Jackson County school board and superintendent made the decision as part of ``an effort to start having good morals in school ... because of all the violent issues that have been showing up,″ said Betty Bond, principal of Jackson County High School.

Timothy Crawford, the district’s attorney, said he’s concerned about lawsuits, but believes the Ten Commandment plaques in the district’s five schools are allowed by law because they were paid for and posted by local volunteers.

Robert Lakes, a business teacher at Jackson County High School, said the Ten Commandments were posted in the classroom when he was growing up.

``It’s like the flag,″ Lakes said. ``We’ve been tearing down symbols that have been in this country″ for a long time.

Jackson County isn’t the only school district in Kentucky or the country where the Ten Commandments are on display in schools. Tonya Adams, principal of Union Chapel Elementary School in Russell County, which has had the Ten Commandments posted for years, said she’s never received any complaints about it.

In Adams County, Ohio, a group of ministers paid to place Ten Commandments tablets outside four high schools to counter ``moral decline.″

Jeff Vessels, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, said the organization just became aware of the situation in Jackson County and has not had time to consider a response.

``We’re very concerned,″ he said in a telephone interview from Louisville.

In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a Kentucky case that posting the Ten Commandments violated the Constitution’s ban on government-established religion.

In June, the U.S. House passed a measure allowing the Ten Commandments to be posted in schools and other government buildings. The bill now goes to the Senate.

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