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Kountze religious banner ruling expected today
KOUNTZE - Astate district judge could issue an order Wednesday putting an end to the lawsuit about whether Kountze High School cheerleaders can hold run through banners with religious messages.
Watch KFDM News for live coverage and stay with kfdm.com for updates.
The parents of the cheerleaders sued the Kountze school district last fall after the district banned the signs at football games. The case was scheduled for trial this summer.
The attorney representing the cheerleaders told KFDM News on Tuesday that the district has agreed with the cheerleaders that the signs do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. That clause prohibits Congress-meaning government-from establishing a state religion.
Attorney David Starnes says with both sides in agreement he doesn't see any reason to move forward with the lawsuit.
"I think a diverging point was brought together when the school district agreed the cheerleaders use of religious messages on the banners did not violate theEstablishment Clause, which was their original position in this case, Starnes told KFDM News. "They have recently changed that and come over and agreed with the cheerleaders that that does not violate the Establishment Clause.
Starnes says the Kountze school board is in the process of amending the district's policy. That policy specifically says the banners are not part of students' limited public forum and do represent government speech. That would mean the district could ban the banners.
Starnes says if a cheerleader is denied the right to a religious banner there could be a new lawsuit over the issue.
The school board could pass the changes as early as its next meeting May 3.