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But the ruling might not have settled the issue of whether the banners are protected free speech, according to an attorney for the cheerleaders' school district.
State District Judge Steven Thomas determined the Kountze High School cheerleaders' banners are constitutionally permissible. In the ruling, Thomas determined that no law "prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events."
The Kountze school district had initially said the banners could not be displayed after receiving a complaint about them in September from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The foundation argued the banners violated the so-called First Amendment Establishment Clause that bars government — or publicly funded school districts in this case — from establishing or endorsing a religion.
Thomas ruled that the establishment clause does not prohibit the use of such religious-themed banners at school sporting events.
"This is a great victory for the cheerleaders and now they're going to be able to have their banners," said Hiram Sasser, a lead attorney for the Liberty Institute, a Plano, Texas-based nonprofit law firm that represented the cheerleaders.
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