SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The words "In God We Trust" were returned to the Ridgewood Middle School marquee on Friday afternoon.
It all happened just hours after students at Ridgewood Middle School in West Shreveport held a rally during lunchtime, handing out 500 T-shirts with the iconic phrase printed on them.
The controversy began last month, with a dispute at another Caddo Parish middle school. A citizen had filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU, about principal Albert Hardison at Walnut Hill Middle School.
That complaint alleged the use of prayer in school communications by Mr. Hardison, prompting the removal of all references to God or religion of any kind from every school and web site related to the Caddo Parish School District.
And it was that action that led to the phrase, "In God We Trust," being taken down in March at Ridgewood's marquee out in front of the school.
Caddo Schools spokesman Bill Strother said the school district's attorneys are still studying the issue. He said they may still decide it is not a violation to have the phrase on the marquee.
If that turned out to be the case, Strother explained Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree could authorize the principal to use his own discretion on whether to put the phrase back on the school sign. And by late afternoon that is exactly what happened.
In fact, according to Strother, the only challenge for Principal Scott Aymond was finding a maintenance employee who could do the work so late in the afternoon. He found one and the phrase is now back up.
Pastor and parent Joey Ketchum had been enlisted for help and support on the marquee issue by 40 or so members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) at Ridgewood. He helped out with organizing the T-shirt giveaway at the school.
Once Ketchum received a phone call from Principal Aymond saying the phrase was back up, Ketchum contacted KSLA News 12.
We met Ketchum at the sign, where he told us, "I'm so thrilled because that is such a victory for our students. They wanted to take a stand and they did and we're so thrilled to death that their voice was heard loud and clear."