The large painting of Jesus was impossible to miss. It hung in a key meeting room at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, watching over gatherings of students and faculty members who did not all hold Christian beliefs.

In January, 18 of these stakeholders sent a letter to the academy’s superintendent through the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to express their concerns.

They wondered if the painting, which shows Jesus coming to aid of lost sailors, could be moved somewhere that hosted religious, rather than secular, events.

“In a Jan. 10 letter, Mikey Weinstein, the (Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s) Jewish founder, said the role the Elliot M. See room played at the academy made the presence of the massive painting especially inappropriate. It has served as a classroom, a venue for advisory board meetings, the room where incoming classes have their IDs processed, and as a court for disciplinary hearings, among other uses,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

To the surprise of Weinstein and others who are familiar with how slowly government actors typically move, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy responded quickly and decisively.

Joanna Nunan, the academy’s superintendent, announced that school leaders would hang a curtain rod over the painting so that it could be covered up during most school events.

“I have asked my staff to purchase a curtain to be placed in front of the painting,” she said, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “This will completely block the painting from view, but also allow those who wish to view it the opportunity to do so.”

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Nunan added that the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, which trains future military officers, could not move the painting because of its large size, but would install a plaque explaining how it ended up at the school.

In a statement on the decision, academy leaders explained the curtain was necessary in order to address “constitutional concerns.”

“When deciding on a solution to the concerns raised, the Academy explored multiple options to comply with the law while seeking to balance the interests of everyone in our community. Our priority is to ensure the Academy is a welcoming environment for all and that it respects all religions without endorsing one over any others,” the statement said.

It noted that, when the painting was originally installed, the room it’s in was used as a chapel.

“The 10-foot by 19-foot painting, entitled ‘Christ on the Water’ and also known as ‘Jesus and Lifeboat,’ was painted in 1944 by noted marine artist Lt. Hunter Wood, USMS, to hang in the chapel built at the USMMA Basic School in San Mateo, California. The painting depicts an image of Jesus and merchant seamen adrift in a lifeboat, presumably after being torpedoed in the Indian Ocean during World War II. When the San Mateo campus closed in 1947, the painting came to the Academy, and was installed in its current location, which served as the Academy’s interfaith chapel from 1942 to 1961,” the statement said.

Although the Military Religious Freedom Foundation had sought the painting’s removal from the Elliot M. See room, Weinstein told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he’s pleased with the academy’s action plan.

“We think this is a superb solution,” he said. “It will be a teachable moment every time somebody asks why those curtains are up there.”