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Rhode Island teen who fought against prayer banner gets scholarship from atheist group


Oct. 13, 2011: Cranston High School West student Jessica Ahlquist, 16, left, arrives at U.S. District Court, in Providence, R.I., with her attorney Lynette Labinger, right. (AP)

The Rhode Island teen who was recently thrust into the national spotlight for fighting to have a prayer banner at her high school removed, is now receiving a scholarship from an atheist group, reports.

The American Humanist Association, a national atheist organization, says that Jessica Ahlquist, 16, of Cranston High School West, stood up for her beliefs despite critics and, “responded well to online threats when she challenged the constitutionality of the display,” MyFoxBoston reports.

The group’s campaign has resulted in $40,000 raised on the website, the Friendly Atheist.

On Feb. 9, reported that Ahlquist, an atheist, filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union after deciding the banner’s presence in a public school was unconstitutional.

The banner had been hanging for decades, and included the words, “Our Heavenly Father,” and “Amen,” according to the report.

A federal judge ordered that the banner be taken down, and Cranston’s school committee decided not to appeal last week, MyFoxBoston reports.

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