In West Virginia, anti-religion groups have targeted the memorial of a teacher who passed away. Officials at Ravenswood Middle School received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).
The FFRF claims that a memorial honoring Joann Christy, a teacher who was killed in a 2004 accident, violates the First Amendment. Patrick Elliott, a FFRF staff attorney, stated:
“The First Amendment mandates that schools cannot advance or promote religion, so that's what this display is doing.”
But the residents of Ravenswood, West Virginia, seem to disagree. Tracie Sadecky, a friend of the Christy family, commented:
“There's so many kids that came through this school that were affected by her death, that were affected by her teachings, and now we're just trying to keep her memory alive here.”
Joann's family has removed the crosses honoring the late teacher, but has decided to keep the angel-carved stones. FFRF objects to the angels currently on display at the memorial, but not all depictions of angels.
Elliott told WSAZ:
“If there is an angel, that is more so a representative of that particular person. I'm not sure there would be a legal issue with that.”
Sadecky claims they are representative of Joann:
“She collected them, she had them in her classroom, she had them in her house, so it's something we thought would be a great addition.”
This is not the first time FFRF has targeted schools in Ravenswood. They complained last year about a Nativity scene on display at a local Ravenswood High School.
Editor's Note: This article was edited for content after publication.