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ICC Note: A memorial bench for a toddler that was killed in a hit-and-run car crash in September was recently removed from its location in Elkin Municipal Park. The bench contained two crosses and quoted Psalm 127:3. Alumi from a local high school donated the bench after reportedly obtaining permission from the Parks and Recreation Department. However, alumnus Ben Whitecross says that he was told that the removal was partly due to the religious symbols along with allegations that the alumni never sought permission.

By Heather Clark

12/10/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – A bench placed in memory of a toddler that was killed in September in a hit-and-run car accident has been removed from a public park after officials said that permission was not obtained to place it—an assertion that the family denies.

Mason Roten was 16 months old when a car pushed the vehicle his father was driving off the road and into a tree, which subsequently fell and crushed the child in his seat.

Last weekend, a memorial was placed Elkin Municipal Park, near the playground when Roten and his brother would play each week. The bench included the child’s name and a quotation from Psalm 127:3, along with two cutout crosses.

“Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a reward from Him,” it read.

Alumni from Elkin High School placed the bench, and state that they first obtaining permission from the town. Ben Whitecross says that he specifically obtained permission from Parks and Recreation Director Adam McComb.

But on Monday, the bench was removed, and Whitecross states that he was told that it was because of the Bible verse and crosses on the memorial.

“One day we come down here with this beautiful bench and tears of joy, and now it’s being taken away as if we haven’t been through enough already,” Roten’s mother, Heather, told reporters. “I just could not believe that they would take something away from my precious little baby like that.”

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