California School Board Will Not Post Ten Commandments

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - Hoping to avoid a legal fight with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a Riverside County, California school board has reversed its policy of displaying the Ten Commandments in school district offices.

The ACLU sued the Val Verde school board last week on behalf of several parents, referring to a 1980 Supreme Court ruling in which the high court held that the Ten Commandments in schools amounted to government promotion of religion.

Similar lawsuits are pending in Kentucky. In October, the House approved a resolution in favor of school districts posting the Ten Commandments. The Senate has not yet taken action on the legislation.

Val Verde school superintendent Fred Workman's request to post the commandments was inspired by this year's school shootings, including the tragedy at Columbine High School in Colorado where two gunmen killed 13 people and then themselves last April.

Workman had asked the school board to approve posting the commandments in school district offices in Moreno Valley and Perris, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles. Workman could not be reached for further comment by

A statement by The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said "schools needed to find alternatives to dealing with student behavior. We need to teach our children to respect all people, not just people of their own faith."

School Board President Robert Givens said the school board "is still concerned by student lack of respect for parents, teachers and fellow students." But, Given said, the district could not afford to defend its decision in court.

Janet Parshall of the Family Research Council (FRC) told, "Golly, all you have to do is have four initials to your name, threaten a lawsuit and they'll huff and they'll puff and they'll blow your house down."

Parshall also said the school board doesn't think it's wrong at all to be posting those ten commandment, but what the board did was so stereotypical for so many schools. "They checked their treasury box and they said, you know what, litigation is costly and we simply don't have the copper pennies in our box to be able to pay for this. It was a matter of economics rather the principle, but it proves again that all the ACLU has to do is just blow themselves up and threaten lawsuits. It's always high-class intimidation and that's what it was here."

Despite the setback in California, Parshall said she is thrilled "that there are so many people willing to give the ACLU work, because all across this country, we are seeing counties and school districts who have decided that enough is enough is enough, and they are displaying copies of the ten commandments."