Cranston West Alumni Plan to Preserve Prayer Banner

           A group of Cranston West alumni are planning the future of its controversial “prayer banner. ” The banner, which has hung in the school's auditorium since 1963,  is now covered with a tarp, after a federal judge ruled it must come down for its religious meaning.

           If the school committee decides to not appeal the ruling and the banner does end up coming down, alumni want to make sure it's taken care of and put in a place where it's message can still be seen.

            Bobby Bach is a graduate of Cranston West High School class of '86. He says he appreciates his schools' “prayer banner” now more than ever.

            “I believe it will be removed and it needs to be preserved. Preserve the foundation that the school was built on, not so much the “Oh Heavenly Father” and the “Amen” but the message that falls in between,” said Bach.

              That's why Bach says he created the facebook page, “preserve the banner,” not as a place to argue whether the banner is right or wrong, but to plan for it's future.  Bach is also making shirts that will have the banners message stamped on the front. The shirts will sell for five dollars.

               Bach says, “It's a way for the students that have graduated, the students that are there, that believe in the message ultimately for us to actually carry it and pass it on.”

                One of Bach's classmates, Maria Manzi, is looking for a new place to hang the    

                 Manzi says, “if the school committee doesn't appeal and the banner does have to come down, there's just so many of us that want to preserve it and still have it in a place where it can still be a piece of history.”

                  The banner is adhered to the wall and could cost thousands of dollars to remove without damaging it. If that's the case, Bach hopes to use the page to raise funds.

                  Saint Mary's Feast Society in Cranston is one location alums hope to hang the banner. They're voting Monday night on whether it has a place there.

                   The Cranston school committee will meet Tuesday night when they'll get advice from their attorney on whether or not they should appeal the ruling. They are not expected to make a decision. Cranston police will be at the meeting tomorrow night to control the expected big crowds and protests.