Saturday, December 09, 2006

Court Upholds Las Cruces School System Against Establishment Clause Challenges

In Weinbaum v. Las Cruces Public Schools, (D NM, Dec. 7, 2006), a New Mexico federal district court, after a bench trial, held that neither the use of a logo featuring a sunburst with three crosses on Las Cruces school vehicles, nor a mural created by elementary school students that depicts three crosses in its design, violates the Establishment Clause. The court found that the primary purpose of the logo on Las Cruces school district maintenance vehicles was to make them readily identifiable. The mural's design originated with children in a secular arts-based educational program. The court pointed out that the name "Las Cruces" means "The Crosses", and probably refers to crosses placed on the graves of massacre victims in the area. Today's Las Cruces Sun-News reported on the decision. (Also see prior posting.)