Muldrow, Oklahoma — Junior and high school students in a town in Oklahoma are fighting back against efforts by a prominent atheist group to have the Ten Commandments removed from public schools throughout the district.
Superintendent Ron Flanagan told reporters that he received a complaint from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) about the numerous plaques present in Muldrow schools on behalf of an anonymous individual.
“If the facts are as presented to us, and the Ten Commandments are on display throughout Muldrow Public Schools, the displays must be removed immediately,” wrote FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott, stating that he believes the plaques violate the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.
“Any student will view a Ten Commandments display in school as being endorsed by the school,” he continued. “Muldrow Public Schools promotion of the Judeo-Christian Bible and religion over non-religion impermissibly turns any non-Christian or non-believing student, parent or staff member into an outsider.”
However, when students at Muldrow High School, as well as other community members, became aware of FFRF’s demand to have the Ten Commandments removed, they decided to push back.
“One person kind of put it out there on Twitter,” junior Chase Howard told 40/20 News. “A couple of us hashtagged it and asked people to get it trending. After that it just caught on.”
Another student decided to take up a petition in an effort to make students’ voices heard.
“I signed one and it had 125 signatures,” Howard advised. “The atmosphere at school has been great. Everybody is coming together and we’re all sticking together.”
Over 200 signatures had been gathered by the end of the day Thursday.
A local Christian organization has also decided to help the youth take a stand by printing approximately 1,000 Ten Commandments t-shirts. Many middle and high school students in the district are expected to wear the shirts to class next week.
“It’s not to protest or to be ugly,” said Josh Moore, pastor of First Baptist Church of Muldrow. “Legally, they do have First Amendment rights. They can voice what they believe in. We are encouraging them to do that in a way that is respectful of others.”
Parent Denise Armer likewise stated that she supports the efforts to save the Commandments.
“I support my daughter in it,” she told reporters. “She goes to church. If other kids don’t want to read the Ten Commandments, then they don’t have to, but that doesn’t mean that they have to make everyone else do what they want.”
Superintendent Flanagan has not yet expressed whether he will have the plaques removed. A board meeting is scheduled for Monday.
As previously reported, similar efforts are taking place in a community in Pennsylvania where residents throughout Connellsville have been staking the Ten Commandments in their yard as a show of solidarity against demands to remove a monument from the grounds of a local junior high school.
“It’s just the principle of the thing that someone can come in and say something offends them and then have it moved,” Pastor Ewing Marietta of Liberty Baptist Church told the Pittsburgh Tribune. “We need to continue to stand with this.”