It took the complaint of just one parent to induce the school district of Shorewood, a suburb of Milwaukee, to drop a new student-designed logo from the high school football team's helmets. The reason: The logo included a cross, along with a bishop's hat (similar to the design on the traditional chess piece). The district's superintendent, Martin Lexmond, no doubt feared that the religious symbols, particularly the cross, might raise the ire of the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, or some other secular group which have used the First Amendment's supposed “separation of church and state” clause to intimidate schools and municipalities into removing all signs of religious faith from public facilities.
“It just didn't occur to anybody that there might be questions about it,” Lexmond told Fox News. “A parent last week raised the question, asking if this was a violation of separation of church and state.” That, apparently, was enough to convince Lexmond and the school board to banish the logo. “It's clearly a Christian cross,” echoed school board member Michael Mishlove to a local Mequon newspaper. “I think it's inappropriate to have on a uniform or any sort of school-authorized clothing, as I think it could be viewed as an endorsement.”
Because Shorewood high school is too small to field a football team on its own, it has partnered since 2000 with Messmer Catholic High School in Milwaukee. The new logo — which combined Shorewood's mascot, a greyhound, and Messmer's uniquely Christian symbols — was designed several months ago by a Shorewood student and added to the team's helmets in August, just in time for the fall high school football season.
Br. Bob Smith, president of Messmer Catholic School, expressed his frustration with the district's decision, which was apparently made without the counsel of Catholic school officials. “We're not happy about it,” Smith told Milwaukee's WTMJ radio, adding that “it is hurtful for the kids. It's going to be hurtful for the kid who designed the logo.... It's going to be hurtful for the team.”
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Photos: Shorewood High School (left) and Messmer High School