Judge rules for cheerleaders in Bible banner suit

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by Tiffany Craig / KHOU 11 News

Associated Press

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Updated Thursday, May 9 at 8:56 AM

BEAUMONT-- Two current and two former Kountze High School cheerleaders celebrated their highly-publicized court battle win with a cheer and a prayer.

"It's overwhelming," said 14-year-old Savannah Short.

The court battle, which lasted more than seven months, was over Bible banners made by the cheerleaders for football games.

"I mean, we weren't persuaded by the school in any way to do this," said 16-year -old Kieara Moffett. "It's just what we wanted to do as a team."

And as a team, they fought after a complaint forced Kountze ISD to ban the signs.

The girls decided to sue.

"It was definitely something that all of us and all of our families prayed about," said Short.

They case went to court and 15-year-old Macy Matthews admits, she wrestled with giving up a few times.

"I thought about it," said Matthews."I just prayed about it and God told me nom you need to press forward."

The girls are glad they did.

State District Judge Steve Thomas ruled Wednesday that the cheerleaders’ banners are protected by "free speech."

The ruling ends the case in Thomas’ court. A lawsuit over the banners 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 school district’s ban on the practice appeared to violate free speech rights.

I'm proud of the legacy and I'm proud of my friends and community for standing up in what we believe in," said 17-year-old Rebekah Richardson.

There's a chance that the district will appeal the judge’s ruling.

For now, the girls from Kountze have plenty to cheer about.

Click here to read the entire ruling.

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