Judge grants Kountze cheerleaders another 2 weeks' reprieve
KOUNTZE, TX (KTRK) -- High school cheerleaders in a small Texas town are making national headlines with a fight for their faith. On Thursday they took a stand in court, in hopes they can continue to inspire school spirit with scripture.
The judge wants to review case law and the testimony he heard on Thursday before making any decision. It'll take him the next 14 days to do that. It's a win, the cheerleaders say, in the battle against their religious freedom.
On Friday night when the Kountze High School Lions take the field at home, their cheerleaders will again hold banners containing phrases of their faith.
"I'm glad that we get to use our signs tomorrow and for the next 14 days," said KHS cheerleader Kieara Moffett.
That's a temporary restraining order lifting a ban the school district implemented last month when Superintendent Kevin Weldin received a complaint from the Wisconsin-based group 'Freedom from Religion.'
In court today Weldin admitted he banned the signs based on the complaint and what he concedes now was bad legal advice. But he says the goal all along has been simple.
"We're going to follow the law," Weldin said. "We have no hostilities against religion. I'm proud of the kids for what they stood up for."
Attorneys for the cheerleaders have sued the school district and superintendent, alleging that Kountze ISD is violating the teens' constitutionally protected rights to express their religious beliefs. They say the signs were student-initiated and student-led and that no school representative played any role in their creation.
Parents and cheer leaders say this ruling is a victory for free speech, even if it is only for the next 14 days.
Mother Patty LeDoux said, "It'll happen. We just have to be patient."
"I know that God has this in his hands and he'll do whatever that he feels needs to be done," Kiera said. "I'm trusting in him."
So the cheerleaders will be out with their signs at their home game Friday. The judge is expected to take this matter up again on October 18.
texas, local, kevin quinn
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