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Cranston votes not to appeal prayer banner case

Rhode Island school officials vote against appealing prayer banner case By The Associated Press

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) ' A Rhode Island public school district committee has voted not to appeal a federal court decision ordering the removal of a prayer banner displayed in a high school auditorium

The Cranston School Committee voted 5-2 Thursday night, after more than two hours of public hearings.

A federal judge last month ruled the prayer banner at Cranston High School West was unconstitutional and ordered it removed in a lawsuit filed on behalf of 16-year-old atheist Jessica Ahlquist. Ahlquist is a junior at the school.

The legal battle over the banner made Ahlquist the target of online threats. She was also briefly shadowed by a police officer at school.

The banner was put up in 1963. It has been covered since the court ruling.

Lawyers for Ahlquist are asking the court to order Cranston to pay $173,000 for legal fees.

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