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Settlement reached in Giles Co. Ten Commandments battle

The issue has been the subject of a federal lawsuit.

July 02, 2012|Orlando Salinas/WDBJ7 Web Staff

GILES CO., Va. — UPDATE: July 2, 2012: The battle over the Ten Commandments in Giles County Schools is officially over.

Both the school board and the anonymous family that sued have reached a settlement. WDBJ7 told you last week the display of historical American documents at Narrows High School will not have the Ten Commandments, instead a photocopy of a textbook that has a small picture of two stone tablets.

The settlement agreement filed today makes any mention of the Ten Commandments disappear.

The board will also be responsible for thousands of dollars of attorney's fees for the American Civil Liberties Union.


The Giles County School Board met early Thursday morning to close out school business for the calendar year.

The board voted unanimously to accept a resolution to post only what it considers to be historical documents.

Not a single public citizen showed up for Thursday's final Giles County School Board meeting. An empty room except for the board members themselves.

The board agreed to post nine specific historical documents.

The Star Spangled banner, The Bill of Rights, Lady Justice, The Virginia Statute of Religious freedom, The Mayflower Compact, The Magna Carta, The Declaration of Independence and that all important page 74 from the Giles County History textbook, called The Roots of Democracy, which does show two tablets with symbols but nothing in English.

The Board said it did not cave into political correctness pressure from the ACLU, which demands the ten commandments come down.

"Is it wrong to say the Giles County School Board caved in to the ACLU? I think that's wrong because we do still have the Ten Commandments up," said J. B. Buckland, the Giles County School Board Chairman.

The chairman caught we he said and clarified.

"...not the ten commandments as such, we do have the rock up."


If the federal judge accepts the board's recommendation, there are several schools in Giles County that could get one of those "historical document" displays.


The Giles County School board has given up its fight to post the 10 Commandments at Narrows High School.

The school board announced its decision in a regularly-scheduled, end-of-the-school year meeting Thursday morning. The meeting started at 7:30 a.m. No citizens attended the meeting.

The school board voted unanimously to take down a copy of the 10 Commandments that hung at Narrows High School.

An unnamed Narrows High School student and their parents filed a lawsuit against Giles County because they believe the 10 Commandments shouldn't be hanging in a public school. They said it violated federal laws keeping church and state business separate.

The 10 Commandments were actually taken down about two weeks ago, so Thursday's meeting was more of a formality.

At Narrows High School there are now nine historical documents posted on a wall that is being called "Foundations of American Law and Government." The 10 Commandments are not included in that display.

As part of the Giles County School Board's resolution passed Thursday, no document will be larger or given more prominence than another. The 29 historical documents are posted next to a wall of 27 pictures of academic and athletic standouts.

Check back soon for more updates.

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