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Texas School District Reconsiders Religious Banners Ban

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KOUNTZE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A southeast Texas school board will take public comment on its decision to bar high school cheerleaders from displaying religious messages on banners at sporting events.

Kountze Independent School District’s interim superintendent, Reese Briggs, says the board won’t take any action at Tuesday evening’s meeting but wants to hear from the public.

The district implemented the ban last year after receiving a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is dedicated to the separation of church and state. The group says the run-through banners amounted to an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

Cheerleaders and the state attorney general contend that the ban violates the students’ free speech rights. A judge blocked the ban pending the outcome of a foundation lawsuit set for trial in June.

Kountze is about 270 miles southeast of North Texas. The school district is smaller by state standards, consisting of some 1,300 students.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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