State intervenes to defend TX law, support Kountze cheerleaders - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

BREAKING NEWS

State intervenes to defend TX law, support Kountze cheerleaders

(Source: Via Facebook) (Source: Via Facebook)

HARDIN COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The Kountze ISD cheerleaders have made national headlines after displaying signs at a football game carrying religious messages.

The cheerleaders use the hand-painted banners as an inspiration for their football team.

Kountze ISD ordered the girls to quit using the banners at the school's football games, and the students and their parents' filed suit in state court.

Now, State of Texas officials are stepping in, in defense of the cheerleaders and the Texas Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act, in the court case filed in Hardin County.

The State of Texas says the court filing questioned the constitutionality of state laws put in place by the Texas legislature.

In documents filed in Hardin County, the office of the Attorney General of Texas explained that the Texas Religious Viewpoint Anti-Discrimination Act requires schools districts to treat a student's voluntary expression of religious views in the same manner that a school district treats the same expression.

According to Attorney General Gregg Abbott, the Act authorizes students to express themselves both as individuals or in groups, in the same manner as students involved in secular or not-curricular activities.

The AG's office continues that neither the Texas Religious Viewpoint Anti-Descrimination Act nor the United State Constitution allows the government to ban religious references from "the public square."

In turn, the AG's office is urging the court to dismiss Kountze ISD's argument that the Act, or the religious messages the cheerleaders displayed, is in fact a violation if the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Texas AG Abbott, released the following statement on Wednesday, after the state intervened in the case against Kountze ISD:

After receiving a menacing letter from an organization with a reputation for bullying school districts, the Kountze ISD improperly prohibited high school cheerleaders from including religious messages on their game day banners. Those banners, which the cheerleaders independently produce on their own time with privately funded supplies, are perfectly constitutional. The State of Texas intervened in this case to defend the cheerleaders' right to exercise their personal religious beliefs – and to defend the constitutionality of a state law that protects religious liberties for all Texans.

Governor Rick Perry says, "As government leaders, we owe it to people of all religions to protect expressions of faith, to ensure everyone has the right to voice their opinions and worship as they see fit."

He continued, "During the upcoming session, we'll continue to find ways to preserve religious expression and explore ways to protect people of faith from this ongoing onslaught."

House Bill 3678, the Religious Viewpoint Anti-Discrimination Act was signed into Texas law by Governor Perry in 2007 to reiterate a student's right to religious expression, and protect students' religious expression from teachers and administrators.

The law is aligned with the U.S. Department of Education's Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, making it clear that students may pray or study religious materials during non-instructional times. The law also allows students to express religious beliefs in homework and assignments and be judged by ordinary academic standards. Additionally, the law clarifies that religious groups have the same access to school facilities as other non-curricular groups.


Related Stories:

Texas cheerleaders told no Bible verses on signs

Judge: TX cheerleaders can put Bible verses on signs for now

Judge: TX cheerleaders can use bible banners, for now

TX Attorney General writes letter in support of Kountze cheerleaders

Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved. Information from the Office of the Attorney General of Texas and the Texas Governor's Office contributed to this report.

  • NewsNewsMore>>

  • Orange Crush weekend leaves Tybee Island with clean beaches

    Orange Crush weekend leaves Tybee Island with clean beaches

    Sunday, April 22 2018 11:45 PM EDT2018-04-23 03:45:02 GMT
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)

    Crowds from different cities and states gathered this Orange Crush weekend on Tybee. The weekend-long celebrations and the Tybee alcohol ban wrapped up on Sunday.  "We were all having fun," said James Dennis. "A bunch of people came down. Brothers and sisters. Just having a good time." It's also an event that gives locals a bittersweet feeling, mostly because of past incidents that resulted in arrests, shootings, litter complaints and underage drinking. Tybe...

    More >>

    Crowds from different cities and states gathered this Orange Crush weekend on Tybee. The weekend-long celebrations and the Tybee alcohol ban wrapped up on Sunday.  "We were all having fun," said James Dennis. "A bunch of people came down. Brothers and sisters. Just having a good time." It's also an event that gives locals a bittersweet feeling, mostly because of past incidents that resulted in arrests, shootings, litter complaints and underage drinking. Tybe...

    More >>
  • Charity walk supports efforts to plant and restore land

    Charity walk supports efforts to plant and restore land

    Sunday, April 22 2018 5:53 PM EDT2018-04-22 21:53:39 GMT
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)
    The BAPS charity walk to support The Nature Conservancy's efforts to plant and restore land was held on Sunday in Forsyth Park.  The group hopes to restore up to 1.6 million acres of land by 2025, planing to do that by planting one billion trees through their Plant a Billion Tree initiative. Their efforts are something that could help national landmarks right here in Georgia. "Helps iconic sights in Georgia like the Okefenokee, the Altamaha River, the Chattahooch...More >>
    The BAPS charity walk to support The Nature Conservancy's efforts to plant and restore land was held on Sunday in Forsyth Park.  The group hopes to restore up to 1.6 million acres of land by 2025, planing to do that by planting one billion trees through their Plant a Billion Tree initiative. Their efforts are something that could help national landmarks right here in Georgia. "Helps iconic sights in Georgia like the Okefenokee, the Altamaha River, the Chattahooch...More >>
  • May Institute hosts family day to raise awareness for autism month

    May Institute hosts family day to raise awareness for autism month

    Sunday, April 22 2018 5:39 PM EDT2018-04-22 21:39:23 GMT
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)
    April is autism awareness month and the May Institute put together an Autisim Awareness Family Day to help raise visibility. The fun-filled day was held at the Coastal Cathedral on Berwick Boulevard. According to Autism Speaks, autism affects 1 in every 68 children. It is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the U.S. Boys are actually 5 times more likely to have Autism than girls. There is no medical detection or cure for Autism. "Today is all about bring...More >>
    April is autism awareness month and the May Institute put together an Autisim Awareness Family Day to help raise visibility. The fun-filled day was held at the Coastal Cathedral on Berwick Boulevard. According to Autism Speaks, autism affects 1 in every 68 children. It is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the U.S. Boys are actually 5 times more likely to have Autism than girls. There is no medical detection or cure for Autism. "Today is all about bring...More >>
Powered by Frankly