TEXAS: Students Protest Ban Of Christian Messages On "Run-Thru" Football Signs
Students and parents at a Texas high school are furious after being told they can no longer post Christian messages on the banners that football players burst through to begin the games.
“It is not a personal opinion of mine,” said Kountze ISD Superintendent Kevin Weldon in a phone interview. “My personal convictions are that I am a Christian as well. But I’m also a state employee and Kountze ISD representative. And I was advised that that such a practice (religious signs) would be in direct violation of United State Supreme Court decisions.” A precedent for the decision is Santa Fe, Texas Independent School District vs. Doe where student led prayers at games were challenged and found to be in violation of the separation of church and state. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that student-led, student-initiated prayer at high school football games violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Superintendent Weldon said any teacher or student in uniform is essentially representing the school and cannot, legally, promote one religion over another. Students and any other attendees at games are welcome to express their right to free speech in the stands he said, but not on the field as official representatives of a team or school -sponsored event.