Liberty Institute Disappointed By Kountze School Board's Decision To Delay Lifting Of Unlawful Ban On Cheerleaders' Free Speech

16 of 17 Speakers Support Lifting Ban on Run-Through Banners at Special Board Meeting

KOUNTZE, Texas, Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last night Liberty Institute General Counsel Jeff Mateer asked the Kountze ISD Board to lift the ban on the cheerleaders' run-through banners with religious messages. Mateer was among 17 speakers—16 of whom supported lifting the banners ban—offering input to the board of trustees at a special board meeting, held to receive public feedback on the Matthews v. Kountze ISD case.

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"Despite receiving overwhelming input from the community supporting the cheerleaders, the School Board simply kicked the can down the road instead of immediately lifting the unlawful ban on the Cheerleaders' private free speech," Mateer said.  "We are disappointed by this delay. The lawsuit will continue as we prepare for the June trial."

Approximately 60 community members attended the special meeting during which the board of trustees went into executive session twice, once at the beginning of the meeting and after receiving public comments, only to return with two motions delaying any action lifting the ban on the Cheerleaders' banners. The first motion extended the period during which the public can submit written input on the run-through banners. The second addressed the development of a new written policy regarding run-through banners and the student's private speech rights following the extended written submission period.

With Beaumont attorney David Starnes, Liberty Institute represents 12 Kountze Cheerleaders in the Matthews v. Kountze ISD lawsuit, which is pending in the District Court of Hardin County, Texas.  The case is set for trial in June and depositions will continue next week.

Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty's vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our Founding Fathers. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.

SOURCE Liberty Institute



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