Dear Dawg: My child’s charter school has one of those pictures of Jesus, right there in the front hall. You can’t miss it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a good Christian, but this is one of those pictures where his eyes followed you wherever you went. Yikes! Is this OK in a public school?

My Uncle Frank and Aunt Eileen had one of those pictures.  I remember that whenever we went to visit at their house, Jesus was right there, on the wall right above the TV, with those disapproving eyes following my every move.  At least it seemed to me they were disapproving eyes. Guilty conscience maybe?  In any event, it was creepy.

So can you have one of these artistic renderings in a public school?  No. What about a public charter school?  The answer to that is also “no.”  What if the charter school is renting space from a church?  No.

That’s the main point in the TO THE CHARTER SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED letter dated December 9, 2015.  The letter is from Heather Mauze, Director of the Division of Charter School Administration.  It’s a short, to the point letter. Key Quotes:

As you are aware, charter schools are public schools that receive public tax dollars….

As such, it is not appropriate for any public schools to have religious iconography present in its classrooms or in any public spaces used by the school.

The state realizes that some of our charter schools have entered into lease agreements with churches and consequently are tasked with providing an assurance that all religious iconography has been removed or covered during the school day and during any after-hour school events.

So there you have it. No beating around the burning bush here.