When students walked into a Texas high school on Thursday morning, they got an unpleasant surprise. The Ten Commandments and Bible verse mural that had been painted on a wall in the recently-constructed common area at O'Donnell High School was covered up with dark paper.
The covering was summarily torn down. O'Donnell ISD Superintendent Dr. Cathy Amonett held an assembly that afternoon in which she explained that the covering was due to fear of a lawsuit.
KCBD reports that the day before she had gotten a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation that stated they had received an anonymous complaint about that display.
Afterward, student Katye Gruben posted a photo and simple Bible verse message to “stand firm” on Facebook:
She was not alone. Many other students shared photos of themselves with the mural. Gruben spoke to KCBD about the verse she chose and how her fellow students responded to the display being covered:
“We all just need to stand firm, ya know. The whole school came together today.”
The community and even a state senator also reached out in support of the students and the display:
Amonett has again covered up the display, but this time with an American flag. The students have left the flag covering up but have not given up on the fight. They have since posted sticky notes with Bible verses throughout the school, some forming the word “God” or the symbol of a cross.
High school junior Sebastian Pedroza explained the response to KCBD:
“Because of this students have put verses on sticky notes, just around the hallways and stuff, so [the] two verses and commandments they've been complaining about turned into 70 more verses.”
Fox News Insider writes that Amonett is supportive of the students and shares in their frustration:
“I’m proud of my kids. I think they have shown the kind of people they are. They believe in the Ten Commandments and they want to stand up for it,” she said.
An investigation has been launched to determine the best way to honor the students' wishes and prevent a lawsuit.
Junior Abby Franklin shared with KCBD why the display matters so much, stating, “This is something we believe in, and this is something that we can't just ignore. Don't take away our faith. It's all we have, it's all we can live on anymore.”