Cheerleaders at Kountze High School in east Texas can continue to use Biblical phrases on their banners during football games, thanks to an injunction from a State District Judge.
The cheerleading team started using verses from the New Testament on their motivational banners early in the fall football season after seeing similar ideas on a Pinterest board. When Superintendent Kevin Whedon prohibited the religious banners, the cheerleaders and their families filed suit. State District Judge Steve Thomas filed the injunction to prevent what he determined to be “imminent and irreparable injury.”
The injunction has been in place for a total of four weeks, but the trial isn’t scheduled until June 24, 2013; until then, cheerleaders are permitted to continue to use religious material at games. Meanwhile, politicians on all sides are cashing in - voicing their support for the cheerleaders and drawing criticism from the left for pandering to conservative Republican constituents.
Is the cheerleader’s freedom of speech at risk? How should public schools handle religious expression in the context of large, school-wide events?
Ken Klukowski, director of the Center for Religious Liberty, Family Research Council and faculty at the Liberty University School of Law
Aaron Caplan, associate professor of law at Loyola Law School