Tue August 17, 2010
"Our heavenly father" to stay in Cranston school
By Elisabeth Harrison
Providence, R.I. – The words "Our Heavenly Father" will remain on the wall of the Cranston High School West auditorium, at least for now. School officials have delayed making a decision about what to do with the sign, which has generated a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union.
The school board voted Monday night to create a subcommittee to study the options, which include re-wording the sign or facing a lawsuit from the ACLU. The sign has been hanging in the school since 1958. It calls on "Our Heavenly Father" to encourage students to excel.
School officials say they do not believe the sign promotes religion. Instead, they call it a positive message for students. They say they have received offers of legal help from four different organizations if they refuse to change the sign and face a lawsuit.
Attorneys at the Rhode Island ACLU say the sign is a prayer and should not be displayed in a public school. The school board has not set a deadline for acting on the issue. School officials say the sign will remain in place when students start school at the end of this month.