Church and state battle in a Texas high school after mural covered

(NBC) — It’s an issue of separation between church and state. A school in West Texas had a painting of the Ten Commandments as well as a Bible verse in the newly built common area of the school.

But when students came to school one morning, both paintings were covered up after an anonymous complaint.

O’Donnell High junior Katye Gurben explained what she posted on Facebook following the mural being covered.

“Be on your guard, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16-13,” she said. “Which meaning that we all just need to stand firm you know, the whole school came together today.”

It was just one of hundreds of posts from students sharing their reaction, which sparked a community-wide conversation.

“It’s one of the big things that O’Donnell is known for, is for keeping their faith strong no matter what,” said junior Abby Franklin. “And so we just decided that we were going to make it known that we wanted this as a big deal.”

After receiving the letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Superintendent Dr. Cathy Amonett covered the paintings – first with black paper, until students tore that down – then with an American flag.

“”I made the decision to cover it up until I make a more informed decision about what I should do, because I don’t want to harm the district or cause any controversy or anything,” she said.

Franklin says the students appreciate the way the superintendent has been transparent about the situation, as she hosted a school assembly one day after lunch.

But the students took that frustration and turned it into a movement.

“Because of this students have put verses on sticky notes just around the hallways and stuff,” said junior Sebastian Pedroza. “So two verses and commandments they’ve been complaining about turned into 70 more verses.”

The 10 Commandments will remain covered up for the time being.