Christian Mural Raising Questions At James River High School

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The ACLU is asking questions concerning a mural painted on a wall inside of James River High School in Chesterfield County.

The mural in question depicts a large cross and a bible verse, and was created by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). The ACLU has some concerns about the legality of the painting.

“The average student passing it may view it as a painting endorsed by the school or a message endorsed by the school and that violates separation of church and state,” said Executive Director of the Virginia ACLU, Kent Willis.

However, there are competing laws concerning the issue. On one side, separation of church and state could mean the mural doesn't belong in the school. On the other side, equal access laws keep any student group from being treated differently than others. That means if other groups can have murals on school walls, so can the FCA.

The ACLU plans to investigate the circumstances surrounding the controversial mural.

“What we will do is ask them exactly what the situation is, how many other paintings are up there, what are the rules and what are the circumstances under which they're allowed to do this,” said Willis.

Chesterfield school officials are also looking into the matter. In a statement released Monday afternoon, school officials said “the school division is reviewing information displayed by all James River High School student interest clubs.”

Most James River students 8News spoke with didn't seem to mind the mural.

“I think it's fine because other school groups get to put up murals based on their own opinions,” said Heather Harrington.

Stay with 8News for updates.

Copyright 2011 by Young Broadcasting, Inc.

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