Ohio middle school's Jesus portrait sparks protest

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JACKSON, Ohio (AP) -- A dispute over church-state separation has surfaced over a Jesus portrait that hangs in the hall at a southern Ohio middle school.

The image was presented to Jackson Middle School by a group of students in 1947.

The Madison, Wis.-based Freedom from Religion Foundation warned the district in a Jan. 2 letter that displaying the image in a public school is unconstitutional.

The group said it represents the school's endorsement of a particular religion, potentially alienating non-Christian students.

District Superintendent Phil Howard told WKKJ-FM of Chillicothe (http://bit.ly/Uw14rU ) he won't remove it without a school board or judge's order.

He said the display resulted from a student initiative, which makes it permissible to display. The portrait hangs in the school's "Hall of Honor" among numerous other faces.

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