A banner made by the Kountze High School cheerleaders displays a Bible verse. (Facebook/Support Kountze Kids)
(CBS/AP) A judge has ruled that cheerleaders at a Southeast Texas high school can display banners emblazoned with Bible verses at football games.
In a summary judgment of a lawsuit filed last year by Kountze High School cheerleaders, State District Judge Steve Thomas ruled Wednesday the banners are constitutionally permissible.
In a copy of the ruling obtained by CBS affiliate KFDM in Beaumont, Thomas determined:
"The Kountze cheerleaders banners that included religious messages and were displayed during the 2012 football season were constitutionally permissable. Neither the Establishment Clause nor any other law prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events. Neither the Establishment Clause nor any other law requires Kountze ISD to prohibit inclusion of religious-themed banners at school sporting events."
The ruling ends the case in Thomas' court. The lawsuit had been scheduled for trial June 24.
In October, Thomas granted an injunction requested by the cheerleaders allowing them to continue displaying religious-themed banners pending the lawsuit's outcome. Thomas at the time said the district's ban on the practice appeared to violate free speech rights.
An attorney for the cheerleaders told KFDM the Kountze school board is in the process of amending the district's policy. That policy specifically says the banners are not part of students' limited public forum and do represent government speech. That would mean the district could ban the banners.
Starnes says if a cheerleader is denied the right to a religious banner there could be a new lawsuit over the issue.
The school board could pass the changes as early as its next meeting May 3.
You may also like...
Attractive Convict: Woman behind mug shot meme sets the record straight
Gator Wrangler: Deputy subdues 10-foot alligator
Science project gone bad: Teen arrested after school explosion
PHOTOS: Bikini bike wash!
Happy Reunion: Kidnapped kids taken to Cuba back with grandparents
10 News Investigators: Fondling physician keeps his license
Sinkhole Tragedy: Man sleeping in bed swallowed by sinkhole
Faces of Meth: Before and After pictures
Sex tape scandal: Miss Delaware Teen USA resigns
Prostitute Roundup: 78 arrested in online sex sting
Hurricane Watch: Monster storm... at Saturn's north pole
Neigh! Video shows man brutalizing, having sex with horse
Shake it: Harlem shake - 10 News style...
Sex blog: Tampa area school CFO busted over her dirty sex porn blog *warning, GRAPHIC*
Nasty Nasty Dining: 10 of the nastiest restaurants in Tampa Bay in 2012
APP-tastic: Download the 10 News app for your iPad
Yowtch! Teen accidentally shoots off his penis, testicle
Bikini Photos: 2012 Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant
Money Mondays: How you can search for unclaimed cash
Sex Offender Mugshots: Look up Florida Sex Offenders here
Bikinis, mud, trucks: The Redneck Yacht Club
Naughty Schoolgirls: Naughty schoolgirl night at Tampa club pictures
Nip/tuck: Hooters tries surviving middle age with a makeover
Outrageous mug shot galleries...
Strange: Some of the most unusual mug shots we've seen
Notorious Women: Bad girls behind bars
Teachers: Teacher arrest mugshots
Celebrities: The rich and famous have their own booking photos
Jaw droppers: Open mouth mug shots
Laughers: What's so funny mug shots
Prostitutes: Prostitute mug shots
Athletes: Professional athlete mug shots
Porn arrests: Child porn arrest mug shots
Local Mugs: Hillsborough County Mug shots
More unusual mug shots and galleries: 10 News slideshows and galleries