CRANSTON, R.I. (CBS) – A huge crowd packed Cranston High School West, angry over a ruling which forced the city to take down a prayer banner that’s been up in the school for decades.
A federal judge already ruled the prayer banner has to be taken down, but in the end, it came down to a battle between faith and money.READ MORE: 12 Firefighters Treated For Chemical Burns After Fire In Cambridge
Early on it looked like Thursday night’s public hearing was going to go the way of those before it: A rabid shout fest.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports
The crowd was heavily in favor of appealing a federal court’s decision ordering the school district to remove the prayer mural with religious wording.
The banner was a gift from the class of 1964.
It begins with, “Our Heavenly Father…” and asks students to be good scholars and community leaders.READ MORE: McCormick Recalls 3 Seasonings For Possible Salmonella Contamination
The school argued that the banner was part of the history of the school.
But once the argument was framed in economic terms, even pro-banner speakers changed their tune.
School officials estimated that an appeal to the 1st Circuit Court in Boston and maybe eventually the Supreme Court could cost the city up to $500,000.
After two hours of public hearings, the Cranston School Committee voted 5-2 against an appeal.
Quietly in the back row the whole time sat Jessica Ahlquist, the 16-year-old high school junior who first challenged the banner’s constitutionality. Ahlquist has been the target of online threats and was briefly escorted by police while at school.MORE NEWS: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
“I’m really pleased with the decision,” Ahlquist said after the vote. “It’s obviously the decision I wanted the School Committee to make and I’m thrilled.”