You are hereHuffington Post: Jessica Ahlquist, Atheist, Receives Threats Over Prayer Banner Ruling; School Board May Appeal

Huffington Post: Jessica Ahlquist, Atheist, Receives Threats Over Prayer Banner Ruling; School Board May Appeal

-By Ileana Llorens

January 27, 2012- Weeks after a judge ordered the removal of a prayer banner at a Rhode Island school, the atheist teen at the center of the controversy continues to receive threats as the school board decides its next move.

Since 2010, Jessica Ahlquist had been urging school officials to remove the banner from the auditorium at Cranston High School West.

The 8-foot banner features a prayer a student wrote in 1963 -- a prayer some consider part of the school's history.

On Jan. 11, federal judge Ronald R. Lagueux ruled it was unconstitutional for the banner to hang at the public school, The New York Times reports.

But the fight to remove the banner has come with consequences for the teen.

Ahlquist has encountered online threats and bullying and has even taken some time off from school, WPRO News reports.

Nevertheless, the 16-year-old says she plans on graduating from Cranston West next year.

Today, the prayer is covered by a tarp, as residents and school board members aren't ready to take the banner down without a fight.

First, the controversial ruling was a popular topic at a Jan. 25 budget meeting, and police even had to be called suppress the crowd, WPRI reports.

Now, a meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 16 during which school officials will hear public comment on the issue, Providence's NBC 10 reports. The board will then decide whether or not to challenge the judge's decision.

Ahlquist, an atheist who grew up Roman Catholic, was not the first to take issue with the presence of the 49-year-old banner.



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