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THE NATION

Court Backs School's Refusal to Post Religious Symbols

June 28, 2002|From Associated Press

DENVER — A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Columbine High School administrators acted properly when they refused to hang ceramic tiles with religious symbols painted by the families of two slain students.

The decision from the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling, which had ordered school officials to restore the tiles.

The 4-inch tiles were painted in a project to renovate the school, where two student gunmen killed 12 students and a teacher on April 20, 1999. The tile project began in 1996 to allow art students to decorate the school after a renovation.

School officials refused to hang the religious-themed tiles, saying they violated the Constitution's requirement for separation of church and state.

The Virginia-based Rutherford Institute, a conservative group that defends claims of religious discrimination, sued in 1999 on behalf of the families who painted the tiles, arguing that their 1st Amendment rights had been violated.

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