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National news in brief, April 3

A Tasty Treat

A Great Blue Heron prepares to swallow a fish at a wetland preserve near Delray Beach, Fla., April 2. Wakodahatchee Wetlands is a bird-watcherís paradise where, for the past three months, itís been nesting and baby season. Wakodahatchee, an oasis of wildlife in suburbia, means “created waters” in the Seminole Indian language.

A Tasty Treat A Great Blue Heron prepares to swallow a fish at a wetland preserve near Delray Beach, Fla., April 2. Wakodahatchee Wetlands is a bird-watcherís paradise where, for the past three months, itís been nesting and baby season. Wakodahatchee, an oasis of wildlife in suburbia, means “created waters” in the Seminole Indian language. AP Photo/J Pat Carter

School takes Jesus portrait down

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Jesus portrait that has hung in a southern Ohio school district since 1947 was taken down Wednesday, because of concerns about the potential costs of a federal lawsuit against its display.

The superintendent of Jackson City Schools said the decision was made after the district’s insurance company declined to cover litigation expenses from an ACLU lawsuit. He said the faculty adviser and two student members of the Hi-Y Club, a Christian-based service club that the school says owns the portrait, took it down at his direction.

“At the end of the day, we just couldn’t roll the dice with taxpayer money,” Superintendent Phil Howard told The Associated Press. “When you get into these kinds of legal battles, you’re not talking about money you can raise with bake sales and car washes. It’s not fair to take those resources from our kids’ education.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom from Religion Foundation had sued on behalf of a student and two parents, calling the portrait an unconstitutional promotion of religion in a public school.

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