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Kountze cheerleaders react to judge's ruling - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Kountze cheerleaders react to judge's ruling

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The ruling is in, and the Kountze cheerleaders have won.

"I'm proud of my friends and my community for standing up for what we believe in," said cheerleader Rebekah Richardson at a press conference in Beaumont.

"It hasn't sunk in yet just how enormous this really is," said Rebekah's mom Beth.

In a potential landmark decision Wednesday, Hardin County District Judge Steve Thomas ruled in favor of the cheerleaders in their fight to use run-through banners with bible verses painted on them at school sporting events.

"We won this case based on the facts and the law, and when you put those two together, it was overwhelmingly conclusive that the cheerleaders should win this case," said attorney David Starnes, who represented the cheerleaders.

The ruling states that the banners do not violate the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution, nor any other law. The mothers of the cheerleaders are glad their near 8-month long battle is over, and their daughters feel better, too.

"A lot better," laughed cheerleader Kieara Moffett.

The girls prayed outside their Starnes' Beaumont office, their own special form of celebration. In Kountze, there was no celebration on the streets, but we heard the support.

"I'm happy that they won, that they persevered because they stuck by their guns," one supporter told us.

And the girls hope their perseverance will serve as an example to others.

"If you feel like you need to express something in a certain way then you should do it, because you should stand up for what you believe in," said Moffett.

Kountze ISD interim superintendent Reese Briggs released a statement showing approval of Judge Thomas' decision, pleased that the district finally has confirmation that the banners are not unconstitutional. But Briggs also wrote the ruling leaves some things unclear regarding free speech, and the school district will be seeking clarification from the court to avoid any future confusion.  

The school district's attorney, Tom Brandt, told 12News he does not anticipate an appeal of the ruling.

 

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