***Update***: The Patch has a wonderful timeline of what happened during the meeting.
After a night filled with speeches by Christians who don’t understand that public high schools are not proxies for churches, the Cranston School Committee voted 5-2 in favor of NOT appealing Judge Ronald R. Lagueux‘s decision to take down the Prayer Banner. That means the banner will come down for good:
The banner, put up in 1963, has been covered since a federal judge last month ruled it was unconstitutional and ordered its removal. The Class of 1963, which was the first to graduate from the school, gave the prayer and school creed as gifts.
Appeal opponents cited the legal costs as grounds for giving up the fight.
Lawyers representing Ahlquist have asked the court to order the city to pay $173,000 for legal fees. Attorney Joseph Cavanagh Jr., who represented the city, said a legal fight in the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston and the U.S. Supreme Court would cost another $500,000 in legal fees.
“You will be wasting time and incredible resources. Half a million dollars? How dare you,” resident Rosemary Tregar said.
“Given the strength of the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux, it would have been tough for the school system to appeal,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We’re certainly glad that the committee decided to not waste any more time and money in pursuing one.”
“Jessica Ahlquist has stood up against her most vehement and vile critics with class and style,” Speckhardt said. “Her example shows how a fight should be undertaken in favor of protecting the freedoms we are guaranteed by our constitution. Everyone should offer a healthy measure of gratitude to her and her family.”
The fundraiser for Jessica will remain up until the end of the month. Feel free to show your appreciation for how she’s handled herself throughout this ordeal by chipping in a buck or two: