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ACLU asks for removal of high school prayer banner

May 27, 2011

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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is asking a judge to forbid the City of Cranston from displaying a Christian prayer banner in a school auditorium.

The ACLU announced Thursday that it wants the banner removed, pending the outcome of a lawsuit alleging the banner promotes a particular religion.

The suit seeks the banner's permanent removal from Cranston High School West. The plaintiff is sophomore Jessica Ahlquist, a 15-year-old atheist who says the banner is offensive to non-Christians.

The banner encourages students to strive academically and begins with "Our Heavenly Father" and ends with "Amen."

Last year, the ACLU asked the school to remove the banner after a parent complained. School officials voted in March to keep the banner, which has been displayed since the 1960s.