JOANN Christy’s 26-year career educating children at Ravenswood Middle School in the US came to a tragic end in 2004, when she died in a car accident. But her loved ones and the community she had served sought to remember her with an engraved, stone memorial decorated with angels near the school’s entrance.
But more than a decade later, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation wants the memorial gone, claiming its presence on public grounds violates the First Amendment. The foundation criticized the display as a promotion of religion that infringes on students rights.The foundation wrote a letter to the school requesting an investigation into the memorial and the “multiple Latin crosses” near the school’s entrance.
Christy’s family, apparently in an attempt to resolve the situation, reportedly agreed to the removal of the crosses, but left the angels in memory of Christy, who had a collection of angel figurines.
The legal threat did not sit well with some in the community, who said the memorial is merely a remembrance of a teacher, not an endorsement of Christianity.
Charles Hicks, the pastor at Christy’s church, remembered her as a devoted Christian who died in a car crash after a Bible study meeting at the church.
“It is a remembrance of who Joann Christy was,” Hicks said. “And it is hard to separate the good that she did and her devotion to her Christian faith.”
A local TV station pointed out that the atheist group did not have an issue with the school’s mascot: a red devil.