Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2013 -- 7:20 a.m.
JACKSON, Ohio (AP) -- Leaders of a southern Ohio school district say they won't remove a large portrait of Jesus that has been a presence in a middle school building since 1947.
An activist group dedicated to the separation of church and state notified the school district recently that the painting hanging above the entrance of Jackson Middle School is illegal and should be taken down.
During a school board meeting Tuesday night that drew a crowd of 300 people, superintendent Phil Howard said the painting has historical significance and will stay put.
An attorney from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation had written to the school district earlier this month calling the portrait an unconstitutional government endorsement of Christianity.
Jackson is about 70 miles south of Columbus.
Copyright 2013: Associated Press