O'Donnell ISD hosts public forum about covered Ten Commandments - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

O'Donnell ISD hosts public forum about covered Ten Commandments

Source: Caleb Holder Source: Caleb Holder
Source: Caleb Holder Source: Caleb Holder
After covered (Source: Caleb Holder) After covered (Source: Caleb Holder)
Before covered (Source: Caleb Holder) Before covered (Source: Caleb Holder)
Source: Caleb Holder Source: Caleb Holder
O'DONNELL, TX (KCBD) -

It's a debate over religious rights that has one small school district drawing national attention.

That discussion continued Tuesday evening, when O'Donnell ISD hosted a public meeting in their auditorium and invited speakers to talk about the Ten Commandments and the bible verse paintings that were covered up on a common area of the school last week.

This all came after an anonymous complaint to the Freedom From Religion Foundation last Wednesday.

Over 100 people packed into the meeting to voice their opinions and concerns. Many of the students wore t-shirts passed out by 87.7 FM "The Fountain" Radio hosts, Javier Castaneda and Scott Bailey.

"It says, You can have the walls, He's in our hearts," Castaneda said, "and on the back there's the Ten Commandments."

They handed nearly 100 of these t-shirts out for free Tuesday evening, along with some advice.

"It's not about the wall, it's about you and your walk," Bailey said. "It's about what you're doing.

This reaction comes after Superintendent Cathy Amonett said she received a letter from a group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation last Wednesday night.

The letter said that they had received an anonymous complaint about the Ten Commandments and the scripture painted on the school wall, and that both "must be removed" immediately since they endorse a religious message.

If not, the foundation threatened that the district would face a lawsuit that they "cannot possibly win."

Amonett temporarily covered up the paintings with paper. When that was torn down by students it was replaced by an American flag.

"My first reaction was this is crazy," high school student Sebastian Pedroza said. "Why would somebody do it? Why would they complain about that?"

Since then, students have stuck hundreds of sticky notes around the building to express their faith, such as slogans like "God's not dead."

"What's next?" student Abby Franklin asked at the school board public meeting, "Us not being able to pray at a football game?"

All 11 speakers were in favor of these paintings staying put.

"I can tell you, everybody in this whole entire room believes in those Ten Commandments," said student Sabrina Pedoza.

One O'Donnell woman said while she supports keeping the paintings until a possible lawsuit, she said they should not pursue legal action.

"I don't think we could afford it," she said.

While Amonett said the district is still seeking legal guidance, many in attendance said even if the paintings do have to come down, their message will remain.

"Something beautiful is happening here in O'Donnell," alumni Simon Resendez said, "and I feel like the spirit is alive here in O'Donnell."

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