KOUNTZE - The Kountze ISD is responding to a lawsuit filed by high school cheerleaders who say they have a legal right to hold up run-through banners containing religious messages.
Click here to read the Kountze ISD response to the cheerleaders lawsuit
On September 20, a state district judge in Hardin County granted a temporary restraining order that prevents the school district from putting a stop to the cheerleaders when they display religious messages on banners or run-through signs at football games and other sporting events.
Another hearing is scheduled this Thursday.
The Kountze ISD superindendent ordered the cheerleaders to stop the practice after he said someone complained. The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the superintendent on behalf of the person who complained.
In their response to the cheerleaders lawsuit, attorneys for the district and Kevin Weldon say Weldon's actions were taken in response to the letter, and they argue Weldon has official and educator immunity.
Superintendent Weldon said attorneys representing the district told him the signs violate a Supreme Court decision in the case Sante Fe Independent School District vs. Doe, in which the Supreme Court held that student-led prayers at a high school football game violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
Parents say the ban on the signs violates their children's rights to freedom of religion. Attorney David Starnes of Beaumont represents the cheerleaders and says they have a First Amendment right to place the messages on banners.
The Texas Attorney General's Office has written a letter to the district, offering its support in the legal battle.