Lifestyle & Belief

Cheerleaders temporarily allowed to use Bible-verse banners at football games


South Alabama Jaguars cheerleaders perform on March 16, 2006, during a game against the Florida Gators during round one of the NCAA National Championship at the Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.


Doug Pensinger

Cheerleaders at Kountze High School in southeast Texas were banned last week from displaying banners with inspirational Bible passages on them at football games, Fox News reported. But now a judge has granted a temporary restraining order that will let them to display the signs until a hearing on the matter takes place Oct. 4.

In September, the Kountze Independent School District told the cheerleaders to stop using the religious banners, which the Kountz High football team runs through at games, after the Freedom From Religion Foundation accused the students of violating the Constitution, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“When those cheerleaders are wearing the uniform, when they’re at an official public high school event, they are not speaking for themselves – they are representing the school, which has a diversity of viewpoints,” Dan Barker, a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, told Fox News. “School as a form of government must be neutral and include all viewpoints and not offend any viewpoints at that school.”

But others claim the signs, which were the students’ idea and are not paid for with school funds, are protected free speech, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“The Supreme Court said more than 40 years ago and many courts have repeated it ever since, that students and teachers do not shed their constitutional rights to free speech when they walk through the schoolhouse gates,” Mike Johnson, a senior counsel at the Liberty Institute, told Fox News.

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