Texas School District Wages Legal War Against Christian Cheerleaders

For the past six years, a Texas school district has been waging legal warfare against a group of high school cheerleaders who wrote Bible verses on football run-through banners.
For the past six years, a Texas school district has been waging legal warfare against a group of high school cheerleaders who wrote Bible verses on football run-through banners. (ToddStarnes.com)

For the past six years, a Texas school district has been waging legal warfare against a group of high school cheerleaders who wrote Bible verses on football run-through banners.

In October, the Texas Ninth Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Kountze Independent School District cheerleaders—declaring the "cheerleaders' speech expressed on the run-through banners is best characterized as the pure private speech of the students."

The school district has appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

The "banners were held by public school cheerleaders while they were cheering for the school's football team, while they were in uniform at a school-sponsored event, and while they were on the school's football field to which access was limited by the school," school district attorney Thomas Brandt wrote.

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The cheerleaders are represented by First Liberty Institute, one of the nation's top religious liberty law firms.

Attorney Jeremy Dys told the "Todd Starnes Radio Show" the cheerleaders "have a right to be able to craft messages of their choosing on paper they purchased using paint that they had bought."

""This is the private speech of these cheerleaders and for the school district to censor that speech violates the Constitution," Dys said. "The school district has fought us every step along the way."

I first reported the plight of the Kountze cheerleaders in 2012 when the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint about the run-through banners.

Instead of writing inflammatory messages on the banners, the cheerleaders decided to write inspirational messages—including Bible verses.

"And the cheerleaders looked to what they saw as their best source of inspiration—the Scriptures," Dys said.

Instead of siding with the Constitution, the school district sided with the out-of-town atheists and banned the cheerleaders from writing Bible verses on the banners.

So the cheerleaders and their parents sued the school district.

In the October ruling, Justice Charles Kreger wrote that "given the nature of the expressive activity—a hand-drawn, playful paper banner, displayed by cheerleaders engaged in an extra-curricular activity, only momentarily before the football team runs through the banner—it is highly unlikely that the banner would appear to those in attendance at the game to contain a message endorsed by the school."

Dys told the "Todd Starnes Radio Show" the school district wants to censor student speech.

"They would rather censor the messages of these cheerleaders than abide by the Constitution, and I find that egregious," he said.

I personally find it egregious that the school district is using taxpayer money to fund this vendetta against a group of high school cheerleaders. If the school district wants to bully a bunch of teenage Christians, let them use their own money.

Enough is enough.

Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is The Deplorables' Guide to Making America Great Again.

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