School superintendent orders Ten Commandments removed

Wednesday, June 7th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A public school that posted the Ten Commandments is obeying an order from school officials to take them down.

Interim Tulsa Schools Superintendent La Verne Ford Wimberly told Park Elementary last week to stop displaying the scripture. Four other schools also were asked not to post the commandments.

"We will always comply with the law," Wimberly said Tuesday through a spokesman.

Park Elementary Principal Cindi Hemm said she placed a 6-inch square marble plaque engraved with the commandments in the school's trophy case.

Red Fork Church of God, which sponsors Park Elementary through the Adopt-A-School program, had given the school the plaque.

"I never had a comment other than very positive comments," Hemm said. "They are really just values that everyone believes in. I don't know anyone that doesn't believe in `Thou shalt not kill."'

Remington and Robertson elementaries, Clinton Middle School and Webster High School also received plaques but didn't display them, said Loren Farr, a spokesman for the district.

Martin Belsky, who is the dean of the University of Tulsa law school, council chairman for the Tulsa Jewish Federation and stat eliaison for the Anti-Defamation League, contacted Wimberly after several parents called him to complain.

The school district quickly responded, he said.

"It is clearly the binding law of the Supreme Court that they cannot be posted in public places," he said.

That ruling, Stone vs. Graham, has been challenged as recently as January when Rep. Bill Graves, R-Oklahoma City, introduced state legislation that would give schools and other public institutions the authority to post copies of the Ten Commandments.

He pulled the legislation in committee before a vote could be taken.