Many of us attended school systems that were restrictive and harsh. We would have never felt as though these schools were places fostering free ideas. You were forced to walk lock step with the rest of the academic society. Public schools have always been a place of conforming minds rather than fostering thought. So, when a group of cheerleaders wished to put scripture on their banners, it was not surprising that the district demanded they remove them.
The cheerleaders took the Kountze School District to court.
The Statesman reports
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A lower appeals court had thrown out the cheerleaders’ lawsuit as moot, saying the Kountze Independent School District had reversed a policy that banned Bible quotes and Christian-themed messages from appearing on large banners that football players ran through before games.
The problem with this decision was that it still rested the power in the school district. Later, if the administration deemed they wanted to ban such banners, the process would have to start over. And maybe the people being censored would not be as headstrong. Therefore, the issue was taken up by the Texas Supreme Court.
The Texas Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of high school cheerleaders who claimed that their free speech was being violated by their school district when it told them they couldn’t display banners with Bible verses at football games.
The justices determined their ruling was still necessary even though the Kountze school district later allowed the banners. The court said the decision will protect the future display of religious-themed signs because the district has argued it retains the right to restrict them. The banners featured some Biblical verses such as, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”
The decision was the right one. There is no institution endowed with the power to restrict Constitutional rights. What a farce our legal system would become if schools and institutions could determine that a right does not apply on their property. Especially egregious to our freedom this kind of application of the law would be when we consider that there is a mandate for the children to attend these institutions in the first place.
And of course, the atheist organization Freedom From Religion Federation had gotten involved in the issue.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint in 2012 that sought to have the banners banned. Various state officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, have supported the cheerleaders and filed court papers seeking to intervene on their behalf.
Now that the highest court in Texas has ruled in favor of the Cheerleaders, the next step is the appeals court. It remains to be seen whether the school district will take that step or drop the issue.