Friday, December 16, 2016

Court Allows Peanuts Christmas Poster To Go Back Up, With Minor Change

As previously reported, on Tuesday of this week the Kileen, Texas school board voted to support a middle school principal who told a staff member to take down a 6-foot tall Peanuts character Christmas poster because it featured a Biblical quotation, or else to remove the religious language from it. Texas Values blog reports on the quick reaction.  On Wednesday, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Dedra Shannon, the school clinic aide who had put up the poster.  The complaint (full text) in Shannon v. Kileen Independent School District, (TX Dist. Ct., filed 12/14/2016), contends that the censoring of the poster violates Shannon's free speech and free exercise rights. Yesterday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton moved to intervene on Shannon's side, arguing that "Texas must ensure that schools respect the ability of religious people to express freely their ideas and not misapply establishment principles." (Full text of Plea in Intervention.) Yesterday afternoon the court issued a temporary restraining order allowing Ms. Shannon to again put up her Christmas poster, but required an additional line on it stating: "Ms. Shannon’s Christmas Message."