Pennsylvania Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Ten Commandments Monument In Public School

| by Nathaly Pesantez

A Pennsylvania judge dismissed a lawsuit arguing against a Ten Commandments Monument in a public high school on July 27, saying the plaintiffs did not establish proper standing to bring the case about.

The plaintiffs, a parent of a student at Valley High School represented by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), sued the New Kensington-Arnold School District in 2012 before federal court, arguing that the Ten Commandments monument displayed on public property is unconstitutional.

"The District's posting of Ten Commandments monument at the high school not only endorses and advances religion, but 'also impermissibly coerces students to suppress their personal religious and non-religious beliefs and adopt the favored religious view of the District,'" a 2012 statement from the FFRF reads.

Legal proceedings carried through until early this week, when U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry delivered a blow to the FFRF and other plaintiffs in the case.

"Plaintiffs … have failed to establish that they were forced to come into 'direct, regular, and unwelcome contact with the' Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of Valley High School,"

Displeased, the FFRF issued a statement countering McVerry's opinion.

"The opinion did not address the constitutionality of the monument in front of Valley High School," reads part of the statement.

The statement also touched on McVerry's case for proper standing to bring the suit forth, citing a previous FFRF brief that briefly detailed a plaintiff's "direct, unwelcome contact with the monument."

Dan Barker, FFRF Co-President, said plans for an appeal are in the works.

The six-foot tall Ten Commandments monument was donated to Valley High School in 1957 by a local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a national civic organization.

Sources: The Christian Post, FFRF, U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry Memorandum Opinion

Photo Credit: Erick Felack/Tribe Total Media via Christian Examiner