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Judge: Prayer Banner Case is Over

Judge Ronald R. Lagueux rejected an eleventh hour request by a group of past and present students at Cranston West to reconsider his January ruling ordering a prayer banner in the school to come down.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux essentially closed the book on the Cranston West prayer banner case yesterday when he rejected a request from some current and former students to reconsider his Janurary ruling ordering the school district to remove the religious mural from an auditorium wall.

The Providence Journal reported that Lagueux's denial said the group, which consisted of three former and three current Cranston High School West students and a North Providence resident, was too late. He also said they did not have standing in the case.

Their request was filed after the district opted to not appeal the judge's ruling and the banner had already been cut from the wall. The district also agreed to pay the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union $150,000 in legal fees.

The school district has been mum on where the banner will end up. A growing list of private organizations, including a church and a handful of private business owners, have offered to give the banner a new home. But school officials have not given any indication where it might go, stating that it will be decided at a future School Committee meeting. They also have been vague as to its current whereabouts, stating only that it is in a "secure facility."

When asked where the banner was on Wednesday, "it's in the back of my car," Superintendent Peter Nero joked.

Peruse our exhaustive coverage of the prayer banner saga by scrolling through our archives HERE.

Jean Allard, Realtor, SRES April 13, 2012 at 01:34 PM
I would suggest making numerous replicas of the banner, and placing it wherever it's welcomed. While I understand the concept of separation of church and state, it seems to me that more people appreciate the sentiment expressed in the banner than reject it. Let it hang as a symbol of earnestness and positivity. Religious schools...senior centers...VFW Posts....I'm certain many would embrace it. Just my two cents.
Jim Carr April 13, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Put this issue to rest !! Justice has taken its course and the people have spoken ! The eleventh hour attempt to convince the judge to "re-consider" is wrought with the Rhode Island " change it or else..." mentality. Again, time to move on ! Is that so hard to grasp?
Ann Fuscellaro April 13, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I think that is a great idea, cause more people did appreciate it than not.... So sad that this had to happen over one person and she noted that all the threats and harrassment was "worth it". Almost sounds like she was on a mission.
Bill Santagata April 13, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Everybody has to follow the rules, including this judge. And the rules this judge has to follow are called the "Federal Rules of Civil Procedure." A motion to intervene must meet several criteria, one of them is that it must be made "on timely motion." These proposed intervenors filed this motion almost half a year after the trial concluded, several months after the ruling was released, a month after the school committee voted not to appeal, and several days after the prayer banner was taken down. This is a textbook example of an untimely motion and it is not surprising that the judge ruled the way he did. If they want, they *can* appeal this ruling to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, but they have absolutely no chance of success. You can read the ruling yourself here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/89252254
Paul Auger April 13, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Go for it Jean put it anywhere as long as it is on private property. Your comment and many others like it show how misunderstood the first ruling was. This was not about liking or not liking something, nor was it about the so called “war on religion. It was about a display in the public school that violated the law, and ran contrary to the constitution. Hanging it in the places you described would be fine. In fact I would fight to keep the banner UP in THOSE places just as hard as I did to have it removed from the walls of a public school.
Paul Auger April 13, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Jim I could not agree more, the fact is this whole thing could have been avoided if the school department did not think that they were above the law and did not try to usurp the constitution. The 11th hour attempt to have a banner put back up that was already removed is just silly, and shows the mentality of the religious right, “we like the law when it works for us, not so much when things don’t go our way.” If things don’t go their way well than they are being persecuted AWWWW!
Bill Santagata April 13, 2012 at 06:06 PM
This ruling is actually really hilarious. The judge really grinds into the movants here. Here's just a sample: "It is time to move on. The denial of Movants’ motion to intervene renders all of their other motions moot. However, the Court will also briefly address Movants’ memorandum of law which sets forth a mishmash of misguided and frivolous arguments. They assert that compelling and dispositive arguments were presented to the Cranston School Committee at the public hearings that were not included in Defendants’ briefs to this Court. Movants believe that these arguments, if considered by this Court, would have resulted in a different ruling. They are wrong. As Alexander Pope, an English poet and essayist, once wrote, 'A little learning is a dangerous thing.'"
Bill Santagata April 13, 2012 at 06:11 PM
The final line of the decision: "This case is over. Anyone who hereafter tries to revive this matter risks the imposition of sanctions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 11. It is so ordered." This is a very stern warning to everyone that further attempts to meddle in this case can land you in very hot water.
Karen F. Keith April 13, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Well, get ready to read her "Book", as she commented if we wanted further comments get in touch with her "publisher!" Also,let us not forget "The Pledge of Alligience",and "God Bless America!" Do they stay or do they go! Ask the Judge if this comes up! Let's stand together and protect what people died for.
Ann Fuscellaro April 13, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Karen, I will not read her book, or have anything to do with her.... We shouldn't have to ask a Judge about the "Pledge of Allegiance" or "God Bless America" ... this is the United States of America .......the country I will love till the end.... May God bless each and every one of you !!!!!!!!
STFU!! April 13, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Solution?Stop voting for Liberal Democrats!!!!!!! Jessica got 63 grand and im sure the book deal and Lifetime movie is in the works Get out and vote conservatives...
Ann Fuscellaro April 13, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Agree with you Robert - 100%
Jim April 13, 2012 at 10:48 PM
United States Currency and " In God We Trust" that is displayed on its face is one singular topic that was not addressed at Cranston West. Stay focused. A banner that should have been removed upon its discovery from a thoughtful student ( Jessica or whomever) is the issue. The atheism beliefs she has been taught is a private right. A right that is protected just as the right to practice Catholicism, Hinduism, Protestant, or any other one of the countless of religions celebrated globally. It is disheartening to see that there are still some who still don't quite get it. Jessica is writing a book? She is profiting from this ordeal? Hardly. Check your facts.Perhaps if many did that in the beginning, the banner would have been carefully removed before any related costs were passed on to taxpayers. Then again, I would be happy to pay for standing up for what I know is right. And in the end, my money was well spent. Peace This topic , in my mind, is completely at rest.
Robin Lionheart April 13, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Ah, if we only had some _liberal_ Democrats, instead of Dems like Obama who’re further right than Richard Nixon.
Joe The Plumber April 14, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I still insist that those are horns on Robin Lion'sAss head........just sayin.

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