NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (March 16, 2023) – The Ten Commandments plaque that got taken down from a stairwell at Welty Middle School in response to a legal challenge from an atheist group is getting a new home.
New Philadelphia school leaders are donating the plaque that’s been in storage collecting dust since 2019 to the Quaker Foundation. The board of education approved the donation Monday evening at the recommendation of Superintendent Amy Wentworth.
“We did have to take it down a few years ago and haven’t known exactly what was the best home for it since then. The Quaker Foundation has agreed that it would be appropriate for us to donate it to them.”
The plaque was a gift from the Class of 1929 that hung in the stairwell for decades. Board member Dave Franz was happy to see it going somewhere it can be displayed without repercussions.
“The Quaker Foundation is not part of the New Philadelphia City School District. It’s a completely independent organization. There’s nothing that is going to dictate what they can display the way the government can dictate what we display.”
The challenge came from the Minnesota-based Freedom Religion Foundation, the same group that threatened to sue the City of Dover for displaying a nativity scene on the square a few months earlier. Franz was part of the board that decided to remove the plaque. He says they couldn’t justify sinking money that was supposed to go toward educating children into a court battle that they might end up losing.