School takes down Jesus painting after lawsuit threat

(REUTERS FILE PHOTO/Tony Gentile)

(REUTERS FILE PHOTO/Tony Gentile)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Facing overwhelming legal fees, an Ohio school caved and took down a portrait of Jesus that had been hanging in the hallway since 1947.

The famous Head of Christ painting displayed at Jackson Middle School had been at the centre of controversy since January, when The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent the school district a letter demanding it be removed.

The school board refused, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Since then, a student and two parents have launched a lawsuit against the school board, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

During a U.S District Court hearing Tuesday, the school agreed to voluntarily remove the painting.

The school board said it strongly believes in the school's right to keep the painting up, but can't afford to fight the court battle.

"Our insurance company denied coverage, and we cannot risk taxpayer money at this time," Supt. Phil Howard wrote in a statement.


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