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ICC Note: In July of 2015, a US District judge ruled that a Pennsylvania teenager did not have the standing to contest a local Ten Commandments monument because she had not been around it enough to claim that it “harmed” her. The Freedom from Religion Foundation has since appealed the ruling, claiming that the teen was in contact with the monument more than the ruling portrayed. A decision regarding the recent appeal is expected to be made in early 2016.

By Heather Clark

12/22/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – A prominent group of professing atheists has appealed a court ruling finding that a Pennsylvania teenager did not and her mother did not have standing to challenge the presence of a Ten Commandments monument because the teen hadn’t had been near the display enough to claim that it harmed her.

As previously reported, in late July, U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry ruled that the girl and her mother “failed to establish that they were forced to come into ‘direct, regular, and unwelcome contact’ with the Ten Commandments monument…”

The statue, which was donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles in the 1950’s and sits on the grounds of Valley High School in New Kensington, includes the figure of an eagle along with an American flag, two stars of David and an inscription of the Ten Commandments. The organization gifted similar monuments to a number of school districts across the country in hopes that they would “provide troubled youth with a common code of conduct to govern their actions.”

In 2012, the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a lawsuit against the display on behalf of local resident Marie Schaub and her daughter, who complained that they were disturbed by the monument’s presence.

McVerry outlined in his ruling that Schaub had only seen the monument two or three times. Her daughter—whose name has not been released—also testified that she didn’t pay much attention to the display while on campus. The girl also no longer attends Valley High School.

Therefore, McVerry declared that Schaub and her daughter had no standing in the lawsuit and dismissed the case. He said that the need for a lawsuit “seems to have manifested itself only after FFRF became involved in this dispute…”


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