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Plaintiffs in 10 Commandments lawsuit call for order to block displays before school starts

Posted at 9:28 PM, Jul 09, 2024

ST. MARTIN PARISH — Plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the display of the 10 Commandments in Louisiana public school classrooms are now calling for an order to block the displays while the lawsuit is pending.

I spoke with one organization involved in the suit and the principal of a Breaux Bridge Christian academy, who shared their sides.

The preliminary injunction motion was filed on Monday following the federal lawsuit filed against the Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley, local schoolboards and Louisiana state board officials.

The suit quickly came after a bill Governor Jeff Landry signed off on last month, House Bill 71, calling for displays of the 10 Commandments in all classrooms on a poster-sized 11 by 14 inches.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State CEO and President Rachel Laser, one of the civil liberty groups named in the suit, said the case was brought on behalf of 14 parents of 16 children from Christian, Jewish, Unitarian and non-religious faith backgrounds.

"The case is being brought really under the First Amendment,” Laser said.

“Pretty basic, pretty standard church-state separation, religious freedom protection. That public schools aren't allowed to favor one set of religious beliefs over any other, or religion over non-religion."

She said the bill also violates free exercise clauses of the First Amendment.

“Parents need to be able to raise their kids how they want," Laser said.

"And school children need to have freedom of expression and not worry that they'll be bullied or maybe even ostracized in school because they're not the religion that the state has chosen."

New Beginning Christian Academy Principal Dacia Thibodeaux agrees with Landry's statement that the 10 Commandments are a historical and foundational piece of the United State’s history.

"They are the original impact of the law,” Thibodeaux said.

“They are the original most basic foundational, moral compass. As parents, we will never regret pointing our children towards the original, most basic moral compass of the 10 Commandments themself."

She feels the separation of church and state is to keep the government out of the church, and not out of schools.

"It isn't to keep our church out of our schools,” Thibodeaux said.

“I appreciate the freedom for us to be allowed to do that. But I do believe that it will impact or plant seeds in at least someone. And each individual someone matters. So if it only affects a handful of students inside of a school, if they appreciate seeing the words and it brings them comfort then that has made a difference."

The bill is set to go into effect in January 2025.