The portrait of Jesus hangs in Jackson Middle School.
Back in 1947, a group of students presented and placed a portrait of Jesus at Jackson Middle School. Now, a group from Wisconsin is putting pressure on the district to have it taken down.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation wrote a letter to the district superintendent on January 2nd that states the portrait is a violation of the First Amendment, citing court rulings in which religious displays were found to violate the Establishment Clause.
"If a large portrait of Jesus were to hang in Jackson Middle School, an objective observer would have no doubt that it had the district's stamp of approval," wrote Rebecca Markert, of Freedom from Religion Foundation.
She added that promoting religion over non-religion would turn any non-believing student or staff member "into an outsider."
Superintendent Phil Howard, however, sees the situation differently: "A lot of things are permissible so long as they are student-led or student-initiated."
He added that he believes the portrait is permissible since it was provided by a student group, the Hi-Y Club.
"It actually hangs there amongst many other pictures," said Howard.
"It's in the middle of what we call our 'Hall of Honor.'"
The designated hall features portraits of influential figures and distinguished alumni, he said.
Howard said the portrait will not be removed unless the action is ordered by the school board or a judge.
"I'm certainly not going to run down there and take the picture down because some group from Madison, Wisconsin, who knows nothing about the culture of our community or why the picture is even there, wants me to take it down."
Freedom from Religion Foundation wrote that it had received a report of the image from an unnamed complainant.
Click here to read a copy of the letter.