Cranston High School West has a new mural, and it had a party to celebrate.

To celebrate its 50-year reunion, the Class of 1963 gave the school the 5-by-10-foot mural on Saturday to replace the one that was taken down last year after a federal judge ruled that its references to religion made it unconstitutional.

It was the Class of ’63 that made a gift in 1959 of the original banner, which contained the words “Our Heavenly Father” and “Amen,” as well as a message to grow mentally, morally and physically.

On Saturday afternoon, before an invitation-only ceremony at the school to unveil the new mural, representatives of the class said the new gift was a way of moving on from the conflict stirred up by the old one, which drew national media coverage.

“The community is healed,” said Janice Bertino. “There is no more controversy.”

That’s sweet. Mind you, the community didn’t need to be sick in the first place.

In 2011, the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union sued the school district and the city on behalf of Jessica Ahlquist, a 16-year-old student at Cranston West who is an atheist, challenging the banner’s constitutionality.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux ruled in January 2012 that the banner was unconstitutional and ordered it removed. That March, school officials complied, taking down the banner and the section of auditorium wall to which it was attached.

You know who wasn’t invited to the unveiling party for the new mural?

Jessica Ahlquist.


  1. says

    Huh. So the wish was they might grow ‘morally, mentally, physically…’

    Well, let’s hope they’ve at least put on a few pounds or somethin’, I guess. Otherwise, looks like zero for three.


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