In 1963 the Administration of Cranston West High School knowingly and in violation of the United States Supreme Court's decision if Engle v. Vitale had a banner displayed which included a religious prayer. Between 2010 and 2011 after many unsucessful attempts to proceed to have the banner altered or removed by negotiating with the school board, Jessica became the lead plaintiff in a suit filed by the ACLU to have the banner removed. This suit was successful. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux issued a decision in favor of Jessica on January 11, 2012.
It is in recognition that in spite of threats to her and her family's physical safety and enduring the opprobrium of her community she continues to stand for the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. I believe awarding Jessica the American Medal of Freedom would send a message to the City of Cranston and the entire United States that threats to individuals who stand for our country's finest ideals will not be tolerated in a just society that believes in the rule of law.