Attorney Says Students Can Make Bible Banners On Their Own

Hundreds Rally In Fort Oglethorpe In Support Of Cheerleaders

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An attorney for the Christian Law Association says cheerleaders and students at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School may not be able to continue displaying Bible verses on their football banners if they make them at school, but they could make them at home on their own and bring them to games.

Attorney Barbara J. Weller of Seminole, Fla., said she has been in touch with a number of Chattanooga-area residents upset about the banning of the banners by school officials.

Several hundred people gathered at the polo grounds in Fort Oglethorpe on Tuesday night in a rally in support of the students' rights to continue to display the banners.

For a number of years at the school, cheerleaders have been making banners for the players to run through at the start of games with such Bible-based messages as “commit to the Lord” and “take courage and do it.”

A parent last week complained to Catoosa County School Superintendent Denia Reese about the banners.

School officials later said the signs will no longer be allowed because it is “a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution for signs with Bible verses to be displayed on the football field.”

Attorney Weller said, "Thank you for contacting the Christian Law Association and our law firm about a local school telling cheerleaders they may no longer display Bible verses on their football banners. We have received quite a few calls about this issue and I understand that the banners were made by the cheerleaders as an official school activity that was supervised by their cheerleading advisor. Since the school has now received a complaint from a parent, the school is obviously nervous that this parent might contact the ACLU and a lawsuit might be filed against the school for violating the “separation of church and state.” If such a lawsuit were filed against the school, the school would lose.

"However, that is not the end of the story. Even though the school would lose if the football banner with Bible verses were an official activity of the school, there is another way around this problem. The students themselves have free speech rights at the school, including the right to discuss religion. Therefore, if the students themselves make other banners with Bible verses that are not part of their official cheerleading activities or an official banner for the game, these student banners would be protected free speech.

"So I have been advising those who call us that while the students may not continue to put Bible verses on the banners they have been making officially for the games, the students have the right to make other banners with Bible verses on them, as long as they make the banners away from the school and bring them to the games to display on their own, without the school’s approval, permission or participation.

"The school may allow the students to engage in this form of free speech at the football games and the school would not lose a lawsuit filed by the ACLU if it were the students themselves making the banners and not the cheerleaders doing it as an official school activity.

"Finally, if the official school banners merely used the words, 'Power, Love, Self Discipline' on the official banners without reference to the Bible verse that includes them, this would not be religious expression and would not serve as the basis for a potential lawsuit."



Gobert Convicted Of Murder In Shooting Outside Step-Daughter's Trailer Home

A Walker County trial jury convicted Michael James Gobert of felony murder, aggravated assault and multiple other counts related to an Oct. 19, 2015 incident on Straight Gut Road in Rock Springs. District Attorney Buzz Franklin said, "On that date in the late evening hours, Gobert heard voices arguing at the single-wide trailer residence of Nicole Carroll, his step-daughter. ... (click for more)

Bob Corker Is #1 In Line For Trump Vice President In USA Today Power Rankings

Chattanooga's Bob Corker is #1 in the USA Today Power Rankings for Donald Trump's choice for vice president. He is ahead of former Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and former presidential candidate John Kasich. The former Chattanooga mayor who has become a leader on U.S. foreign policy, recently met Mr. Trump for the first time when he made a visit to ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Judge's Night Behind Bars

There is very little doubt that retired Army Sergeant Joe Serna has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving three tours as a Green Beret in Afghanistan. Once he barely avoided being blown up by a hidden IED and then there was another terrifying brush with a suicide bomber. But the worst was when a truck he was in slid off the roadway into a canal. “It was like ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats GPS Again For Second Straight D-II Title

MURFREESBORO – Baylor coach Kelli Smith was feeling no pain here at the Starplex Field No. 3 Friday afternoon after her team had beaten GPS for its second-straight D-II state softball crown, but that wasn’t the case late Thursday night. Smith, who now has two state titles as a Baylor player and eight as their coach, spent more than three hours in the local emergency room, only ... (click for more)

Silverdale Topples Meigs, 6-0, To Force Second Game For Class A Softball Title

(Story will be updated) MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Silverdale wanted a rematch with Meigs County. They got it Friday afternoon. The Lady Seahawks, who lost 3-1 to the Lady Tigers to open the Class A state softball tournament, fought back through the loser’s bracket and made the most of their second chance. Silverdale (42-4) scored six unearned runs – the outburst ... (click for more)