Floyd County, VA – Liberty Counsel applauds the decision of the Floyd County High School administration to allow students to display the Ten Commandments on the face of their lockers. Students originally posted the Ten Commandments on their lockers as a sign of solidarity with the students at nearby Giles County High School, where the district removed the Ten Commandments after threat of a lawsuit.
On February 23, Jacob Agee and other students who are members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes posted copies of the Ten Commandments on their assigned lockers. Very quickly thereafter, Principal Barry Hollandsworth and Assistant Principal Tony Deibler removed each copy. Liberty Counsel then sent a letter to the Floyd County High School administration, requesting the reversal of their censorship of religious material posted by school students on the face of the students’ lockers. Liberty Counsel gave school officials two weeks to reverse course or face a federal lawsuit. As a result, Floyd County High School officials did reverse course and will now allow students to display the Ten Commandments on their own lockers.
A tour of the school reveals a variety of student expressions of school spirit, support of activities, birthday well wishes, social causes, and so on. In this case, the school has opened up student lockers for student expression but was monitoring and censoring religious speech. To censor the Ten Commandments under these circumstances clearly violated the students’ free speech.
Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, stated, “We are very pleased that the students at Floyd County High School can post the Ten Commandments on their lockers. I applaud the school officials for doing the right thing, and I am especially proud of the students. There is a crucial difference between government speech endorsing religion and student speech endorsing religion. While a school could prohibit all stickers on student lockers, school officials cannot selectively discriminate against religious viewpoints, while allowing other secular viewpoints.”