Texas appears to be gearing up for another court case about religion and free speech in public schools. This academic year, cheerleaders at Kountze Independent School District decided to include Bible verses on their banners and signs for their middle school and high school football games. During pregame festivities for the first game of the season, the Kountze football team ran through a sign that read ““I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” The superintendent, Kevin Weldon, prohibited the cheerleaders from making more signs with religious messages and now finds himself in court. The cheerleaders, their parents, and the Texas attorney general argue that the school district is unfairly limiting the free speech of students. Weldon’s lawyers argue that although the superintendent personally agrees with the cheerleaders’ signs, he is merely upholding the law set by another Texas court case, Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, in which the Supreme Court decided that student-led prayer at football games was unconstitutional. We’ll have to wait and see what the Hardin County Court decides as District Judge Steven Thomas extended a restraining order on district officials for 14 more days, allowing the cheerleaders to display their signs for another two weeks, before the case proceeds.
Read the full New York Times article, “Cheerleaders With Bible Verses Set Off Debate,” here.