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    School district bans cheerleaders’ messages

    Date: 10.19.09 | by Judge Tom.

    Shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America, students at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School in Georgia began adding Bible verses to the cheerleaders’ banner. The football team ran through the banner before each game and then dropped to one knee for a group prayer.

    CheerleadersJeffreyBeall

    Jeffrey Beall (Flickr)

    In October, 2009 the banner was changed to “This is Big Red Country” and the game went on. Following complaints about religious messages on the field, the school district banned the practice. Although many citizens in the deeply religious town favored the banners, the school recognized that it violated the First Amendment.

    The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits public schools from endorsing, discrediting or establishing any religion. A public display of a religious message at a school-sponsored event such as a football game invites a legal challenge.

    For more about the Establishment Clause, see:  http://askthejudge.info/do-i-have-to-pray-in-school/47/

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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