Cumberland County schools approves posting of Ten Commandments

Cumberland County schools approves posting of Ten Commandments

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Each school in the district has a Freedom Wall where historical documents are displayed. That's where the Ten Commandments could be posted in the future, though there are no immediate plans to do so. Each school in the district has a Freedom Wall where historical documents are displayed. That's where the Ten Commandments could be posted in the future, though there are no immediate plans to do so.
"I think it would be great. I think that would bring religion and everything back to the schools and maybe stop a lot of violence and things that goes on at the schools. A lot of families don't get to go to church," said Barbara Lynch. "I think it would be great. I think that would bring religion and everything back to the schools and maybe stop a lot of violence and things that goes on at the schools. A lot of families don't get to go to church," said Barbara Lynch.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

CROSSVILLE (WATE) - It's a nationwide controversy. Should the Ten Commandments be posted in schools and courthouses? Is that a violation of the separation of church and state?

Last year, the Tennessee legislature passed a law allowing the commandments to be displayed as a "historically significant" document.

At their January 24th meeting, the Cumberland County Board of Education voted to allow the Ten Commandments to be posted in their schools along with other documents like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Although it is legal now in Tennessee, the school board's attorney advised them they could still be opening themselves up to a lawsuit as one of the first in the state to take a stand.

Each school in the district has a Freedom Wall where historical documents are displayed. That's where the Ten Commandments could be posted in the future, though there are no immediate plans to do so.

Director of Schools Aarona VanWinkle declined an interview, but gave us this statement:

"The public schools are charged with teaching our history and heritage to students; we are not responsible for religious instruction - matters wisely left to families and religious organizations."

As for how Cumberland County parents feel about the possibility of the Ten Commandments in their child's school, it depends on who you ask. 

"I think it would be great. I think that would bring religion and everything back to the schools and maybe stop a lot of violence and things that goes on at the schools. A lot of families don't get to go to church," said Barbara Lynch.

"From a historical standpoint, absolutely, I think that's wonderful. I would love for her to be able to see that there. I don't want them to be teaching her religion and faith, because I think that's something that the family should do," said Janice Poole.

6 News contacted all nine Cumberland County Board of Education. We only heard from three and all three declined an interview. We also never heard back from their attorney.

The Hawkins County Commission passed a similar resolution last week allowing the Ten Commandments to be posted along with other documents at their justice center, but they haven't set a time frame for doing so.

Plans to hang the Ten Commandments in the Monroe County courthouse were put on hold indefinitely a few months ago.

Back in 2005, they were taken down after the ACLU filed a lawsuit.

When the new state law passed last year, Monroe County officials announced they'd be hanging them back up, but then the Freedom from Religion Foundation threatened a lawsuit.

That's why County Mayor Tim Yates has decided not to hang the display. He said the county doesn't want to use county tax dollars to fight another lawsuit.

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