An Ohio state law
permits “reasonable periods of time” for prayer and meditation activities.
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However, this state law also creates tension with the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which forbids any state institution, such as public schools, from establishing a religious affiliation.
Such tension has led to lawsuits and various issues with the law in Ohio.
In 2012, students in Richland County, Ohio involved with the Freedom From Religion Foundation
sued School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties because of prayers recited at a public school commencement ceremonies and board meetings.
“They're trying to separate religion and run it out of public life. I don't think that's what the founding fathers intended,” Oran Smith, president of Palmetto Family Council told Toledo News Now in 2014.
After nearly 2 years of negotiation, the case is finally ending with a federal judge dismissing the case.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
and Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit against the Jackson City School District in 2013 for hanging a picture of Jesus on the wall of a high school. Even though the picture had been on the wall in the school since 1947, the school district decided to settle and remove the portrait and pay a fine of $95,000 rather than fight the case before the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio.
According to the case’s lawsuit, student and school visitors “will continue to suffer permanent, severe and irreparable harm and injury,” because of the picture, reported Fox News.
Another controversy between prayer and schools took place in 2013 when Ohio representatives, Tim Derickson (R) and Bill Patmon (D) co-sponsored a bill that would make banning certain religious aspects in school difficult.
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The Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act would have expanded individuals’ abilities to file lawsuits against school systems if they felt their rights to freedom of religious expression had been violated.
In regards to how the Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act would have affected the Jesus painting Jackson City School District removed in 2013, Representative Patmon told the Columbia Dispatch
that the district “would have a better opportunity keeping Jesus up.”
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