Caving to the complaints of a national atheist group — and bitterly disappointing its own community — a Kansas school district has removed a picture of Jesus that has hung for decades in the hall of a small-town middle school.
The Chanute school district removed the “Head of Christ” picture from Royster Middle School after consulting with lawyers, the Witchita Eagle reported.
Chanute Superintendent Richard Proffitt said the district complied as soon as it could.
“We were notified and we responded to stay in compliance,” he said.
The decision came after atheists at the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation complained to the school.
“It’s nice to have people who appreciate the law and get things done … who follow the law even if it’s likely to be unpopular in the community,” the group’s spokesman Ryan Jayne said in a statement.
Profitt said he didn’t know exactly how long the picture had been on display.
“I do know it’s been decades,” he told the Eagle. “Some people who went through the system before – 30 to 40 years ago – knew it was hanging in the hallway back then. It was kind of a permanent fixture, if you will.”
Profitt told the paper there had been no local complaints about the picture. He said a visitor to the school might have taken a photo of the picture during a recent back-to-school tour and sent it to the foundation.
Local residents were disgusted that the picture was taken down.
“Oh man, it’s getting bad,” former student Erika Semey told the Eagle. “That’s what’s wrong with this world. Not enough people have Christ in their lives.”
“I’m sick of this,” Jack Lynch, 53, told Reuters. “This country was founded on Christian beliefs. In God we trust. Now people want to come in and change all that. If they don’t like it let them leave.”
Another former student, 22-year-old Cody Busby, told the paper the picture was on the hall when he was a “church kid” at the school.
“Nobody else in the school seemed to be bothered by it,” he said. “There were only one or two evolution kids and they didn’t seem to be bothered by it.
“With all the bullying that goes on in schools and how all the kids divide up into cliques, I think Jesus being there didn’t hurt a thing.”
Just the feelings of some atheists in Wisconsin.
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