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Does the First Amendment protect cheerleaders’ religious-themed banners?

Nov. 30, 2012

In a small East Texas town, the cheerleaders at a public high school have a tradition of making banners to hold up at the start of home football games. The players and coaches break through the banners when they run on the field. In previous years, the banners’ messages were taunts directed at the opponent, but this year, the cheerleaders decided to use messages with Christian themes, such as “Thanks be to God, which gives us victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

After the school district received a complaint from the nonprofit Freedom from Religion Foundation, a national group based in Madison, Wis., it banned the banners. The foundation said that religious messages displayed by school representatives – meaning cheerleaders wearing school uniforms – at official school events violated the constitutional separation of church and state in the First Amendment.

Kountze Independent School District Superintendent Keven Weldon told the Houston Post in an interview: “My personal convictions are that I am a Christian as well. But I'm also a state employee and Kountze (school district) representative. And I was advised that that such a practice (religious signs) would be in direct violation of United States Supreme Court decisions."

Parents and attorneys for the cheerleaders filed a lawsuit, arguing that the messages were protected by the First Amendment’s free speech right.

In October, Hardin County, Texas, District Judge Steve Thomas extended a temporary injunction on the school district’s ban until the case is tried in court in June. That means the cheerleaders can keep their banners with religious messages until then.

The issue is whether the religious-themed messages are purely the cheerleaders’ individual speech or represent speech by the school district because the cheerleaders are representatives of the school.

The cheerleaders and their parents contend that the messages are the cheerleaders’ viewpoints. Their attorney, David Starnes, said, “It is the individual speech of the cheerleaders and not in fact the government speaking…That is their individual choices that are being portrayed on the banner.”

Reinforcing that argument, the lawsuit said: “The cheerleading team is student-led and student-run…. The faculty sponsors do not participate in the making of any of the run-through banners…The cheerleaders in charge of practice each week … decide what message to put on each banner.…No school official has control over the content or message.”

Thomas, the judge who issued the temporary injunction on the ban, seemed to agree in his decision: “If the temporary injunction is not issued, the [high school’s] unlawful policy prohibiting private religious expression will remain in effect and the [students] will be prohibited from exercising their constitutional and statutory rights at all football games and other school sporting events.”

The cheerleaders’ emphasis that the banners are student speech is important because the U.S. Supreme Court has said that government – in this case, the school district – has less power to restrict the private speech of students even while they are at school. When a religious message is attributed to the school district, that violates the First Amendment’s separation doctrine, the court has said.

The phrase “separation of church and state” has become a short way of referring to the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” But the phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution. It actually came from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote when he was president to the Danbury Baptist Association to explain why he would not proclaim national days of fasting and thanksgiving. He said he did not believe it was the role of Congress or the president to do anything that could be interpreted as the establishment of religion.

What do you think?

Should the banners’ messages be considered private speech by the cheerleaders as individuals? Did the ban violate their right to free speech? Or should the banners be considered speech by the school, which represents the government? Are the cheerleaders then representatives of the school, meaning their banners' messages present the school's viewpoint? Has the doctrine of separation of church and state been violated?

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Comments
10/13/2017
Sidney/Montana
Isak
Mr.Faulhaber
The think that the cheerleaders are protected the by the first amendment because the does not establish that the school is religious in any way cause it the student not the school that in doing the act.

10/13/2017
sidney MT
shawn
Mr. Faulhaber SHS
No because you can not have one religion over another religion. Some people may be mad about it. you cant let one person have one sign and not another if they both deal with religion.

10/13/2017
Sidney, Mt
Patrick Prince
Mr. Faulhaber/SHS
No, the cheerleaders should not be able to display that it is against the establishment clause.

10/13/2017
Sidney Montana
jason
mr.faulhaber
the cheerleaders use the school to get out what they need to say because the school esepically if its about religon

10/13/2017
Sidney/ MT
Kade
Mr. Faulhaber
I agree with Harmonie

10/12/2017
Sidney, Montana
Abby
Mr. Faulhaber
If the cheerleaders are doing something religious that a school does not approve of, it definitely should NOT be allowed.

1/5/2016
Sidney/ MT
Harmonie
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
When it comes to religion there are some guidelines that are grey areas. Yes, the cheerleaders have the right to have their own religious views and conversate between them together. There is just a thin line where they can't display the banner in the middle of a football field where a crowed see's it. That is the same as a student going over the intercom and saying a prayer before a game.

1/5/2016
Sidney mt
Christian Eggar
Mr Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
In my opinion i think the banners should be considerd private speech from the cheerleaders themselves. I belive that this ban violated their right to free speech and that of free exercise of religon. The cheerleaders do to a point represent the school but this saying is their belive not the schools. I do belive that the pepole complaining about this were looking at attacking these young girls. They were just stating their thoughts and beliefs. Now if an aithest had posted on a banner something like "God wont help us win, Science will, i belive that this banner would be allowed. The school has to be fair to every person whether its freedom from religon or of religon. These cheerleaders were not in any way saing you have to belive what i say or these are the veiws of the school. So yes i do belive that these students 1st amendment freedom of speech right was violated in the banishment of those banners. Thank-you!

3/19/2015
Warminster, PA
Mr. Firmani
Archbishop Wood
This is a difficult case because, yes, the messages are those of the cheerleaders, but isn't the cheer team a part of the school? If they are the cheerleader's personal views then the First Amendment should protect them. However, if these messages were endorsed or encouraged by school personnel then I would have to say that the banners are not protected by the First Amendment.

5/5/2014
Rudyard, MT
Sierra
Mrs. Campbell, North Star High School
With reasoning, I believe that the First Amendment does not protect cheerleaders' religious-themed banners. I believe this because I feel they violate the Establishment Clause. I also believe that it is bogus to think that "No school official has control over the content..." If there were to be any obscenity or offensive material, there would be restrictions. Because it is a public event, the cheerleaders are supposed to represent their team as well as have an agreeing community: religious banners cause conflict.

4/11/2014
Frisco, TX
Ashley
Adams/CTE Center
The cheerleaders' banners represent the religion of the cheerleaders, not the whole school. The cheerleaders have their right to freedom of religion and holding up a banner representing the religion is no different from a coach telling the crowd, "this is such a blessing," or a group of students wearing cross necklaces to a school function. In this case, the banner was not meant to harm anyone or infringe on anyone's rights. It was simply to portray the beliefs of the team. The banners were made by the team leaving the school out of the situation. If the team was a school led club things would be different.

4/10/2014
Frisco/ TX
Victoria
Adams/ CTE Centre
No, the First Amendment does not protect the cheerleaders' religious themed banners. They are holding up banners depicting religious themes at a public event. If there are others at the game that disagree, or are offended, with the banners, than the Cheerleaders' rights would interfere with their rights. Also, it shouldn't be such a big deal, being requested to put down the banners. No one is saying they can't express their religion, just that they shouldn't do it in a public setting.

4/9/2014
Frisco, Texas
Brielle
Adams/CTE Center
The first amendment does protect the cheerleaders' religious themed banners. The fact that the banners were made by the cheerleaders, who make their own banners without being run by an administrator makes it okay. If teachers or the school itself was a public school and were telling the students to make these signs, only then would their banners not be protected by the gris amendment. At the end of the day neither decision will make everybody happy, but if people don't like it they don't have to read it, simple as that.

4/9/2014
Frisco/Texas
Jacob
Adams/CTE Center
I think the 1st Amendment does protect cheerleaders' religious themed banners. Even though its protected from the nonprofit Freedom from Religion Foundation, I feel that the cheerleaders have the right to put up messages with Christian themes at schools' football games. If messages with Christian themes relating to our "Lord Jesus Christ" are put on banners, then the cheerleaders should use them in football games.

2/12/2014
Tacoma/Washington
Jessica
Mr.Davies/Wilson High School
Okay. So my civics teacher was discussing a similar topic with us. Yes, under the first Amendment, it is legal and it is considered a protected freedom of speech. However, does the religious symbols on banners infringe on other peoples rights? If so, then it should be prohibited. Say I'm Nuslim (I'm not, just making an example), and I feel offended. I could potentially either sue them or ask them to bring down the banners because I feel...I don't know, offended.

2/15/2013
belleville/ New york
Heather
colby/belleville
you're not going to please anyone, and not everybody is going to like what you are as an individual are doing. Simple as that. You can complain all you want, but you should really talk about that matter maturely. and come up with a compromise, and again sepreate church and state.

2/7/2013
Rudyard MT
Donovan
Ms.CampBell Northstar
The first amendment does protect the cheerleaders, religious themed banner, because the first amendment is freedom of speech. Anybody can speak their mind out or write it on a banner. These cheerleaders just wanted to show they have faith in the team to win.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg/PA
Emily
Reichelderfer
I myself am a cheerleader and at our games we always make banners. we make the banners to cheer on the team. i dont understand why someone would want to put a religious saying and run through it. I find that very disrespectful. but the cheerleaders should have the right to put on the banner what ever they want. they surely didnt mean to offend anyone.

1/22/2013
Irving/Texas
chhering
Bradley/Nimitz
Banners' message should be considered private speech by the cheerleaders as individuals. Ban violated the freedom speech . since none of the teachers was involved with the banner, it didn't relate with separation of church and state.

1/21/2013
Irving/Tx
Jazmyn
Bradley/Nimitz
Being a high school cheerleader, We are representatives of the school no matter what we do. Having a uniform on with the school's name on it means your apart of the school. I think that the ban violated the right of freedom of speech. When a school is promoting violence on there banners, no one wants to complain but the religious messages strikes a nerve with parents ?! I think the cheerleaders did nothing wrong by putting the messages on the banners and I believe the should be allowed to continued to do it. They're not trying to influence anyone on there religion so there shouldn't be a problem.

1/21/2013
Irving/Texas
Linda
Bradley/Nimitz
Those banners are the view point of the cheerleaders. You can just put that as the view point of the whole school without everyone having a say in it. But it was said in school property, at a school event, under school rules so it could be considered a violation of “separation of church and state. But the ban on the banner is also a violation of free speech. So now its just gonna have to be decided which one is more important, the separation of church and state or the right of freedom of speech.

1/19/2013
Irving/Tx
Jennifer R
Bradley/Nimitz
The fact that cheerleaders are expressing themselves at sport events is good and shows a lot of participation, but by having religious banners they are mixing in religion with school. Too many the religious banners may seem offensive because of the phrase "separation of church and state" isn't being applied to this situation. Even if the banners are viewpoints of the cheerleaders, they have to be aware that the uniform they wear is representing their school. As long as they wear their uniform on school ground, then they are representing their school. Therefore, the religious banners are a violation.

1/18/2013
Irving/Tx
Carolina R
Bradley/Nimitz
Even though the church is seperated from the state does not mean that students cannot express themselves. Teenagers are usually portrayed as ungrateful and selfish so that cheerleaders are breaking the stereotype that people have about kids should be a good thing. The freedom of self expression is a right that people have even if it is not written down. Religious banners should not be violationg any laws.

1/18/2013
Irving, TX
Liliana
Bradley/Nimitz
Since cheerleaders are representing their school any message they provide is viewed as the view point of the school. So the banners message should not be considered private speech. Therefor, even though it may not be the view point of the school, it does violate the doctrine of separation of church and state, due to the fact that the cheerleaders represent the school.

1/17/2013
Irving/TX
Alex H.
Bradley/Nimitz
What has this country come to that we aren't even able to display positive messages at high school games? It states at the beginning that the cheerleaders would usually write some sort of trash talk towards the other team, but wouldn't it be better fro every school to display a positive Christian message? I agree with the fact that the cheerleaders themselves decide what to write on these posters, and not any administrative person. So because of this, their message doesn't convey the entire administrative body, and then should be allowed to be displayed as it doesn't conflict with the "separation of church and state" law.

1/17/2013
Irving/TX
Rose
Bradley/Nimitz
Cheerleaders have a right to put what they want on there banners. I understand why people that I was wrong of the cheerleaders to put religious messages on the banners but, since they are individualism and not the administration. The banding of religious banners is dumb because it violets the 1st amendment.

1/16/2013
Irving, Texas
Ashley
Bradley?Nimitx
As individuals, the cheerleaders have the right to their own private speech even if it is expressed through these banners that they themselves came up with without any outside influences or forces. The cheerleaders are student led and student run and since that is the case, it is perfectly fine for them to display these posters in public eye as a way of helping out their fellow classmates to be strong throughout the game and win. The cheerleaders have their own right to express their beliefs whether it be at a football game or at home. It's not like the school is trying to shove these beliefs down the throats of their students. Therefore, these cheerleaders should not have their banners banned.

1/16/2013
Irving
Kimberly L.
Helen Bradley
The cheerleaders are individuals, and the message on each of their banners was their choice and not anybody else's. Their cheer club is ran by the cheerleaders themselves so there really wouldn't be any outside influence. Those banners were meant to cheer on the football team and if the football team and if the football team isn't bothered by it, it should be ok. They aren't forcing people to support what they have on their banners, if someone doesn't like it they don't have to support it.

1/15/2013
Irving/TX
Martha
Bradley/Nimitz
The cheerleaders are individuals, I believe that the message carried on the banners should be considered private speech, since they were the ones that decided on the religious theme. Nor the school or the faculty had any influence when the banners were created therefore they only expressed what the cheerleaders considered a hopeful rather than offensive message at the football game. However the cheerleaders are part of the school organizations and do in all case represent the school and its team. With that said, I do think the doctrine of separation of church and state has been violated by the banners. Cheerleaders from public school carrying religious banners can be easily mistaken by other people as the viewpoint of certain school. Also, no everyone in the school might have the same beliefs as the cheerleaders do, and its possible for the message to be taken in an offensive way.

1/15/2013
Irving, TX
Bethany
Bradley/Nimitz
The cheerleaders seemed to have carefully taken the right steps to make it legal for them to have religious banners at the football games. The cheer team is run by the cheerleaders themselves, not by a school official; the banners are made solely by them; and the banners represent their own personal viewpoints, not that of the school. So the school is in no way involved with displaying the banners' Christian messages. It is the cheerleaders' right to express their own beliefs, whether in a public setting or not. The doctrine of the “separation between church and state” has been taken too far. Thomas Jefferson came up with that phrase when he denied a Baptist church association national holidays for fasting and thanksgiving. The events that transpired with the cheerleaders happened at a local high school in a small town in Texas, not even close to a national level. Their actions don't affect or persuade anyone like a national holiday would. Therefore, the cheerleaders have a right to express their personal beliefs in a form such as banners at a football game.

1/15/2013
Irving/TX
Julio F.
Bradley/Nimitz
The banners should be considered as private speech because it explained that the cheerleaders were responsible for the banners and not the administration, so these banners aren't speech by the school or the viewpoint of the school and it shouldn't be considered. The whole banning of the banners is really idiotic and it's violating the right to free speech. The doctrine of separation of of church and state has not been violated by these cheerleaders.

1/13/2013
Irving/Texas
Omar R.
Bradley/Nimitz
It wouldn't be considered private speech if it was in front of a public audience, it did violate free speech however, the government cannot favor a certain religious group so the cheerleaders were still violating the law. The cheerleaders were representing the school due to the fact it was a school related activity, I'm already thinking this school is religiously biased. Yes the separation of church and state has been violated, not that it's really important in my opinion however, it violates the constitution.

1/13/2013
Irving/TX
Jessica H
Bradley/Nimitz
Even though the cheerleaders wear school uniforms which represent the school, they are not representatives of the school as a whole. The banners they made were solely their opinions since the cheer leading team is student led. Had a government official, in this case school faculty, participated in creating the banners or the message on the banners, then they should be banned. However, the banners were not made from the opinions and preferences of the faculty therefore the ban was a violation of the cheerleaders' right to speech. The ban not only violates the cheerleaders' right to free speech, but it also violates the doctrine of separation of church and state.

1/13/2013
Irving, TX
Kelsey
Bradley, Nimitz High School
The cheerleaders had the right to make religious banners. The students themselves are the ones that made them not their uniforms. The school did not tell the students that this year we are going to use religious banners at games. The thought of making religious banners was not the point but instead to give hope to the football team. The cheerleaders used their creativity to come up with something that didn't slash their opponents but instead pumped up the crowd. I know that this year our school did not use any of our "violent" catch phrases when we were going against teams and using uplifting messages like those these students used is something I would have preferred.

1/11/2013
Sidney MT
Colleen
Mr. Faulhaber
I feel like the cheerleaders shouldn't have the right to have the signs with religious words on them. They are wearing school uniforms and are at a school sponsored event.

1/11/2013
Sidney MT
LaShell
Faulhaber/SHS
You can support your religion and thats fine, but being the cheerleaders are wearing a school uniform and holdin a relgious flag that makes it look like the school is represinting it, witch violates the establishment clause. football is a school sport as is cheerleading so religion nowadays has no place there.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Dalton
Faulhaber SHS
I believe that the First Amendment does not protect the cheerleaders. I believe this because they are representing a public school at a school sponsered activity and it is forbidden.

1/11/2013
Sidney, Mt
Mitchell
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that the students shouldnt be restricted to what they believe but since they are representing the school the students should be required to represent the schools speech as well. meaning that the cheerleaders shouldnt be allowed to display religious banners during school related activities.

1/11/2013
Sidney/Mt
Cody
Faulhaber
The law of the separation of church and state in the First Amendment states no religion in school being lead by a teacher or superviser. The cheerleaders should not be able to have religise banners because they are in a school sponsored event and sponsoring there clotheing by wearing cheerleading apparal. The last thing is religise banners by any school should be banned..

1/11/2013
Sidney Montana
Matt
Mr. Faulhaber
I think the chearleaders should not be allowed to display the banners. Some people may not want to see religous things while they are watching football. Even though the people dont have to be there, it is a football game not a church.

1/11/2013
Sidney/Montana
Lane
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High school
I think the cheerleaders shouldnt be able to use religious banners in school. The Football game is a school sponsored sport. The cheerleaders are representing the school. The religious banners make the school look religiously offiliated, thereaby representing the government.

1/11/2013
Sidney Mt
Chris
Mr. Faulhaber
I think that they could make the sign if they were going to show it in the stands. But since they are in cheerleading clothes and the school football team is running through the sign, people could think that the school supports the sign.

1/11/2013
Sidney
Brandon
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that even though they are students, while the cheerleaders are in uniform they represent the school. Also, it is on school property which is government property. Government is not allowed to promote or inhibit a certain religion and obviously Christianity is definitely promoted in this case.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT.
Zach
Mr. Faulhabe/SHS
First ammaendment does not approve. Secular school....'nuff said

1/11/2013
Sidney MT
Abbe
Mr. Faulhaber
I do not feel the cheerleaders have the right to hold the signs with religious statements. They, in my opinion, are representing the school while they have their uniforms on. This could very easily be seen as speech indorsed by the school. It is, therefore, illegal for the school to endorse any speech upholding or oppressing a religious belief. Even further, they cannot uphold religion over non-religion.

1/11/2013
Sidney High School/Sidney, Montana
Jason
Faulhaber
I believe that the cheerleaders should not be able to display the banner because, even though it is not a captive audience, people are there to watch the football game who may not want to see religious ideas and would have to give up watching the football game in order to avoid the religious ideas. I believe that it violates the first and fourteenth amendment if the cheerleaders are able to display their religious banners on school property, during a school event, and especially if they are being funded by the government through the cheerleading group.

1/11/2013
Sidney/Montana
Justin
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I believe that the cheerleaders should not be to have religious based themed banners. Even though the banners were made by the cheerleaders and not the school, it represents the school and the players. The community and other team would see this and in turn the school would be represented, not the individuals.

1/11/2013
Sidney/MT
Mitch O.
Faulhaber/SHS
I don't believe under any circumstances any banner should be religious. If its a public school it is unacceptable. Your assuming everybody is religious when you do that.

1/11/2013
Sidney High School
Elise
Mr. Faulhaber
The First amendment protects the cheerleaders for their right to religion. Because it was an after school event and no football player going through the banner had a problem with it, I believe that it should have been legal to do.

1/11/2013
Sidney/Montana
Matthew
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
The banners' messages should be considered private speech because it is the speech of the cheerleaders who aren't government employees. The ban did violate their right to free speech. The banners are in no way considered speech by the school because it is the speech of the students. The cheerleaders are not representatives of the school because they aren't under the authority of a government employee. The doctrine of seperation of church and state hasn't been violated.

1/11/2013
Sidney, Montana
Lane
Mr. Faulhaber Sidney High School
I think that these cheerleaders should be allowed to show these banners. Showing these banners does not make it look like the school favors one religion over another. For one the cheerleaders are not government paid workers. They are highschool attendents which means that it would be against the first amendment freedom of expression, that means you can express your religion publicly as long as you are not a government offical at work. The cheerleaders have every right to display "Thanks be to God, which gives us victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ" on there banner.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Courtney A.
Faulhaber / Sidney High School
I believe that the students shouldn't be able to put that message on the banner because it's a school sponsored event. If the cheerleaders were to do things in private and express that message among themselves, it's understanding. Although, the fact that they're displaying it where it's a public place is violating the constitutional separation of church and state which is stated in the First Amendment.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Abby
Mr. Faulhaber/SHS
The cheerleaders are a school sponsored group, the football game is school sponsored therefore they should not be allowed to have religious banners. If there was a student in the crowd with the banner I believe that would be okay because they are not representing a school group, like the football team or cheerleading squad.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Travis
Mr.Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think that if the cheerleaders put the message on the banner themselves instead of being forced to write it on there then it is just fine. If a teacher coach or some other government employee forced or told them to do it then it is uncontitutional.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Jim
Mr. Faulhaber/SHS
If the cheerleaders werent forced do write that on the banners and it was their own ideas i feel its perfectly okay to have a relgious saying on a banner. Should it be wrong for a football team to pray for a safe game? Should it be wrong to state your regious beleifs? Its assenine to think this way.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT 59270
Amanda
Mr. Faulbher Sidney High School
I believe that the students shouldnt use religious sayings for banners at school events. The ban did not violate their right to free speech. the should not be considered speech by the school.The doctrine of seperation of church and state has been violated.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Amber W.
Mr. Faulhaber SHS
I believe this ban violates the cheerleader's right to freedom of religion which is protected in the First Amendment. The banners these cheerleaders made were simply an expression of their own beleifs. Displaying them at the football game did not violate anything. Cheerleading is an extracurricular activity, therefore this was not a representation of the school itself, but the cheerleaders alone. And not being part of the school curriculum, each individual is free to fully express all of their rights, including the freedom of religion and the freedom of expression. Both in this case being constitutional and in no way violating anything. My opinion.....

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Dain E.
Mr. Faulhaber/SHS
The obvious issue here is mixing church and state. A school can't support the use of a prayer or religious banner at a football game they're sponsering, because it interferes with national guidelines. If a student wanted to start a religous group in the school, they could, as long as it was voluntary and after school hours. They aren't able to shove Christianity into other students faces at a school sponsored public event because ofcourse, that would mix church and state, which is just silly.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MONTANA:)
Maci H.
Sidney High School/Mr. Faulhaber
The First Amendment gives us limited rights. In school we lose all of our rights, just as Morse v. Frederick court case did not allow "Bong Hits 4 Jesus," because it promoted illegal use. Religion cannot be promoted in schools either, because of separation of church and state has been violated. I believe that the First Amendment does NOT protect the cheerleasers right to religion because as soon as a student enters a school their rights are not the same.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Austin
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I don't think it violates the first amendment because its a student-led and student-run program. The faculty have nothing to do with what the cheerleaders put on the signs.

1/11/2013
Sidney Montana
Vickie J.
Mr.Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I dont think that the students should be able to put the religious statment on the banner, because it makes the school look like they are choosing christianity over all the other religions. that is unconstitutional and should just change the saying. I would like to know why they picked that saying in the first place.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Maggie
Mr. Faulaber/ Sidney High School
I believe that this violates the First Amendment right "Freedom of Speech". I personally think because this was a student ran program and the cheerleaders themselves made the banner that it should be allowed.

1/11/2013
Sidney/ Montana
Sicily
Mr. F/ Sidney High School
I am neutral on this one. I am a Christian, but I do see how it makes the school look like its promoting. I agree that the cheerleaders shouldn't be able to do this because they are in uniform at a school sponsored event, but it is a student led group.

1/11/2013
Sindey, MT
Keziah
Mr. Faul-haber/Sids High
I don't think that the cheerleaders should be able to make religious-themed banners. Since they are influencing religious views, it's unconstitutional. The banners may be offensive to someone who attended the game that wasn't a Christian. The banner is a bad look for the school, because it makes it look like they are recognizing one religion over another.

1/9/2013
Sidney, MT
Taimea
Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I believe that the students shouldn't be able to put it on the banner because it is at a school sponsered event. It would make the school look like they are choosing one religion over the rest. I would like to know more on why the cheerleaders wanted to put that particular saying on the banner.

1/9/2013
Irving, Texas
Sona
Bradley,Nimitz
Yes the banners should be considered private speech. Because they choose to put what they put. Ban did violate their right to free speech because the amendment never really specified what they could and couldn't say. So its not up to the officials to decide whether what the cheerleaders said was wrong. The school had nothing to do with it. The banners only represent the cheerleaders and their point of view.

1/8/2013
Montgomery,Texas
Brooke
Metzger/Montgomery High School
This ban violates the cheerleaders right to religious freedom which is protected in the first amendment. Cheerleading is an extracurricular activity and also since its student-led and student-run the cheerleaders are the ones representing this not the school so it doesnt break any law of the "seperation of church and state." Therefore the cheerleaders should be allowed to keep their banners.

1/7/2013
Montgomery / Texas
Camryn
Metzger/ Montgomery High School
The First admendment protects the cheerleaders for their right to religion. The cheerleaders made the signs on their own. No one hired by the state helped them make it so there for it is still under the seperation of church and state. The Cheerleaders have the right to express what ever they wish on the signs. The signs were made before/aftwer school by the students. no one told them what to write. The people that say its against their religion and shouldn't be alowed. Those people can create their own signs and bring it to the game if they wish. As long as the Coaches or Sponsors didn't participate in making the signs the cheerleaders have full legal right. The signs don't say anything relating to the school expressing the school believes in the certain religion. The players and Cheerleaders have full right to express their religion.

1/4/2013
Belleville
Ashley
Colby/Belleville Henderson
The First Amendment protects the Freedom Of Speech, the cheerleaders should have the right to write what they wont on the banners beacause cheerdeading is an after school activity.

1/4/2013
Belleville/NY
Kylee
Colby/Belleville-Henderson
I, personally, am not a religious cheerleader. However, I do stand behind these girls and their beliefs because they are not connected to the "state" by supporting their football team. They aren't even using the banners for the competition part of cheerleading, so they are only displaying their religion while showing support for their high school football team. People do this every day at NFL games, so what makes this any different? Is it because they are cheerleaders? It shouldn't make a difference.

1/4/2013
Irving/Tx
Jennifer T.
Bradley/Nimitz
The ban completely violates the cheerleaders’ right to religious freedom which is stated in the first amendment. Even though the cheerleaders are part of the school, it is an extracurricular activity. The cheerleaders acted on their own when creating the poster and displaying. The poster is also outside the campus. They did this based on their own judgment therefore it reflects their beliefs, and not the schools. So the action of banning their banner is unconstitutional in a violation to the first amendment.

1/3/2013
Montgomery, TX
Travis
Metzger
Because cheerleading is an extracurricular activity, cheerleaders should be allowed to put religious-themed banners up. The first amendment not only protects freedom of speech, but also freedom of religion. According to Christianity, followers of Christ are expected to spread God's word, therefor denying the banners is a restriction on freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Arguments can be made that the cheerleaders are representing the whole school and not everyone follows the same beliefs as the cheerleaders. Seeing that cheerleading is a student-run organization, the cheerleaders have a legal right to put on the banners anything they want according to the first amendment.

1/2/2013
Montgomery, Tx
Matt
Metzger/ Montgomery High School
The cheerleading team is student-led and student-run, the faculty sponsors do dot participate in the making of any of the run-through banners. Meaning separation of church and state is still present, the cheerleaders don't represent state, they represent themselves as a people, and the first amendment says that a person has the freedom of speech.

1/2/2013
Montgomery/Tx
Danielle
Metzger
I believe that banning the signs is violating their freedom of speech, which the first amendment secures. The first amendment also insures freedom of religion. Yes, the government issued "separation of church and state" but the cheerleaders are not forcing their religion on anyone during school hours. Nor do the signs represent the school's viewpoint. They are only to encourage the players, not to persuade anyone. If this was violating "separation of church and state" then having religious groups before or after school would be also, but that is allowed. What do we run off of? The constitution or a letter written by Thomas Jefferson?

1/1/2013
Montgomery/Tx
Nicole
Metzger
The first amendment protects the freedom of speech for all, including the cheerleaders which are an activities group. The Supreme Court separated state from religion, but the girls are not hired nor paid by the state and none of the staff from the school helped to make the banners. The cheerleaders put what they wish and think on the banners. The banners are not to represent the school but to motivate the team another activities group. The only reasonable thing to protest would be whether it was placed on school property.

12/21/2012
Irving/TX
Kristian
Bradley/Nimitz
The banner's messages are considered private speech be the cheerleaders as individuals because the choice of the words is the cheerleader’s choice. The ban violate did violate their freedom of speech because there was no harm done in expressing their thanks to God. The banner should not be considered speech by the school because the school has no say it their choice of words on the banners. The banners' messages don't present the school's viewpoint because the school's names wasn't included on the banner. The doctrine of separation and church has not been violated because there was no law making and there was no attachment to the government.

12/20/2012
Washington/NJ
Celeste
Rokos/WHHS
Does their banner imply that God does not want the other team to win? Regardless of law, God should be kept out of such petty things as sporting events.

12/18/2012
Irving Texas
Jasmin T.
Nimitz/Bradley
The cheerleaders banners should be their own private speech because the cheerleaders were the ones who made them. I could see when they would say separation of states, but the cheerleaders created them on their own time, not having the teachers or principle help. If anything I think having religious sayings should be a positive thing, rather then being potentially banned. I know that the cheerleaders are the main ones who create sings, banners and chants for the football team. I personally think incorporating enlightening things that motivate the players in a positive way.

12/17/2012
Irving,TX
Lily
Bradley/Nimitz
The banners that the cheerleaders made represented their own thoughts and ideas,and should be considered private speech. I don't think it violated the doctrine of separation of church and state because the school did not make the signs, the students made them on their own. The faculty had no involvement at all. I feel that the students had the right to do so because of freedom of speech. Plus,if the football players and parents don't have a problem with it then it shouldn't be a problem.

12/17/2012
Irving, TX
Brittany H.
Bradley/Nimitz
The ban completely violates their freedom of speech as well as freedom of religion. They expressed their religion using freedom of speech and they have a complete right to that. The fact that they did it at a school football game does not mean that the school supported it. If the cheerleaders are sponsoring themselves then there was no violation between the separation of church and school. They had all right to put what they want on their banners and no violations or crimes where caused in their actions.

12/16/2012
Irving/Tx
Vanessa C.
Bradley/Nimitz
The banners should be considered private speech because the cheerleaders knew what it meant. The ban violated their rights. The banners were not part of the school/administrator doings since they were not involved. No, the doctrine of separation of church and state has not violated. The cheerleaders are just inspiring the players before their game.

12/14/2012
Montgomery
K. Jones
Metzger/ Montgomery
Although the cheerleaders do represent the school in some aspects, I believe the messages on the banners are their own personal thoughts and should be considered private speech by the cheerleaders as individuals. The banners are there for the team they are supporting, in this case the football team. If the football player support the banners, I don't think there should be an issue. Like the article says, the banner making is student-run. The doctorine of separation of church and state is not part of the constitution, but part of a letter written by Thomas Jefferson. Therefore, freedom of speech, supported by the First Ammendment, has not been violated.

12/13/2012
Irving/Texas
Claudia
Bradley/Nimitz
The cheerleaders are not individuals. They represent the school and the athletes. The banner represents whit the school believes. An individual can sit int he stands and have a sign asking God to help them win but if the cheerleaders have it then it would be as if the whole school is asking Jesus Christ for help. The whole school might not be Christian. the doctrine of separation of church and state has been violated because the cheerleaders are talking on behalf of the school and are in their representation and have involved a specific religion to a School game.

12/13/2012
Montgomery/TX
Areil
Mr. Metzger / Montgomery High School
I think the cheerleaders' signs fall under the first amendment not under the separation of church and state. As it mentions in the article the banners are student made, the faculty has no involvement with the signs. I think if no one has any complaints concerning the signs it shouldn't be a problem having them being displayed at school events.

12/12/2012
Irving, TX
Kasey
Austin/JESA
Though I do believe that the cheerleaders are right in their use of free speech, I also believe that for a school function where they are representing their team and school, they should not use religious sayings. Not everyone believes the same, and some people can feel that the religion in use is being forced upon them. The signs themselves are fine as used by individual but not when used to represent a whole. If this were to happen at a private religious institution, it would be a different matter, but this is a public school.

12/12/2012
Irving/TX
Ricky
Austin/JESA
I think that the cheerleaders have the right to write the message in the banner because is not part of the school but on the other hand their thoughts of what they should put on the banner. Therefore it did violated the right to free speech. The club is acting on their own is something that the cheerleaders are doing as an extra curricular activity something that is separate to what the actual curriculum the school is teaching.

12/12/2012
Irving, Tx
Sabrina
Austin/JESA
The banners and the religious messages displayed on them, should not be considered free speech. Yes, the girls made the banners in their free time, using their own resources, and the group is not school funded, however the message was used to represent and cheer on the s

12/12/2012
Irving, TX
Chibueze
Austin/JESA
The ban violated the cheerleaders' right to free speech. The cheerleaders aren't the representatives of the school, though, so they don't represent the school's viewpoint. However, those banners are protected by the First Amendment. Just because they were used at a school does not mean that the doctrine of separation of church and state has been violated.

12/12/2012
Irving/Tx
Hector S.
Bradley/Nimitz
Yes, the messages shown in the banners are considered as private speech. Any speech, good or bad as long as it does not endanger other people should be considered as speech protected by the First Amendment. The ban did violate the cheer leader's right to free speech, the cheer leaders did not say anything on behalf of the school. The doctrine of separation of church and state has not been violated since the cheer leaders spoke for themselves and not any institution.

12/11/2012
Montgomery/Texas
Stephen O
Metzger/Montgomery High School
I believe that the banners that the cheerleaders made represented their own thoughts and ideas and is considered private speech. I do not think it violated the doctrine of separation of church and state because the school did not make the signs, the students made them on their own. I feel that the students had the right to do so because of freedom of speech. The signs are promoting God as much as the football players' cleats are promoting Nike or Under Armour and no one is complaining about that.

12/10/2012
Montgomery/Texas
Ty M
Metzger/Montgomery high school
The cheerleaders should be allowed to have religious banners. If they cant have religious banners than the football players should be allowed to have Bible verse eyepaint or it taped on there arms. Thats the way I look at things.

12/10/2012
Montogmery, Texas
Harley K
Metzger/Montgomery
i am all for cheereladers making religious banners! i think its stupid that people are making a big deal about the whooe situation. if you dont like it, then dont read it, or just dont go to the games. as simple as that.

12/9/2012
CA
Yovana
Monache
The banners should be considered speech by the school. Since the cheerleaders were part of a school function their banners became a respresentation of the school's viewpoint in the eyes of the public. It is taking it into an extreme saying that the banners have violated the doctrine of separation of church and state.

12/9/2012
California
Melissa
Monache
I believe that the separation of church and stay are should be practiced and enforced. I understand that we all have the liberty of expression and te freedom of speech but we social laws tell us that we should be considerate of others and their beliefs as well.

12/9/2012
Visalia,CA
Josh
Arzola/COS
I believe that the cheerleaders made the sign under their own will and that it should not be restricted from being displayed. The sign that a student makes does not need to reflect the viewpoint of their school, that's just silly to me. Yes, they represent the school through their extra curicular activities, but that should not restrict them from being individuals. The banners that they use to put up, taunted their opponents and no one had a problem with it. If they were really worried about the banners reflecting the school's stance, they would have been upset over previous banners that bullied other schools and players or promoted taunting.

12/8/2012
Irving/tx
Marisol
Bradley/nimitz
The banners should be considered as private speech. This whole banning of the banners is ridiculous, and does violate the right to free speech. I don't understand why team spirit can't be accompanied by a religious banner. It make no sense. There are things that could be said that could be extremely inappropriate, yet the problem seen here is religious wording? What has this world come to? If these cheerleaders said that the banner contained their viewpoints, then it shouldn't be challenged. It's as if people are trying to dig something bad out of something good. So, the doctrine of church and state has not been violated. As the articles states, this was not included in the constitution, so there is no violation with this case. The only violation I see is the right to word banners the way these cheerleaders feel should be worded.

12/7/2012
Wilmington Delaware
Sam
Mount Sophia
I believe that the banners should be banned, and all other religious banners and signs posted by the school district or that school should be banned. If one religion's signs or banners wont be tolerated, than none will. I am a christian, and i believe it is wrong to use a sign of only one religion. if you're going to use a sign bearing a religious symbol or saying, it must have all religious symbols. All or none. m

12/5/2012
Irving, Tx
Cristina P.
Austin/JESA
The messages on the banners should not be considered private speech by the cheerleaders as individuals. The ban did not violate their right to free speech because there are people who are not able to exercise that right in lesser deals. The speech should definitely be considered speech by the school. First off the cheerleaders are wearing uniforms that represent the school and the girls would not be cheerleaders if they would not have been at that school. Every team or organization not only represents itself but also the school it is from, so yes those banners represent the viewpoints of the whole school. In the end, allowing religious based banners at a high school football game is violating the doctrine of separation of church and state.

12/4/2012
Montgomery/TX
Sarah S.
Metzger/Montgomery High School
The banners made by the high school cheerleaders represented their individual speech and should be considered private speech. The ban on their signs violated their freedom of speech because it was their choice to make the banners. The cheerleaders were portraying their own personal beliefs on the banners, not that of someone else. They were not instructed to make them by a faculty member of Kountze ISD so in my opinion they did not violate the separation of church and state.

12/4/2012
Irving/TX
Kenia R
Bradley/Nimitz
The banners should be considered private speech by the cheerleaders as individuals because they are in control of themselves no faculty members help them. They did violate their right to speech because they are putting their voices out there and nobody told them to. The banners dont represent the schol or their viewpoint its just the cheerleaders. The doctrine of separation of church and state was not violated.

12/4/2012
Irving/TX
Rebecca M.
Bradley/Nimitz
Yes, the banners should be considered private speech because the cheerleaders knew what they were doing. The ban did violate their right to free speech. The banners didn't represent the schools viewpoints. The doctrine was not violated. The banner didn't have the viewpoints of the school- it was the cheerleaders views.

12/4/2012
Irving/TX
Sandra C.
Bradley/Nimitz
The banners should be considered private speech because as clearly indicated in the article, the cheerleaders were in total control of what the banners said. The ban did violate their right to free speech. Since no administrators were involved, the banners do not represent the school or the school's viewpoint. The doctrine of separation of church and state has not been violated.

12/4/2012
Irving/TX
Daniela R
Bradley/Nimitz
The messages on the banners should not be considered private speech by the cheerleaders as individuals. The ban did not violate their right to free speech because there are people who are not able to exercise that right in lesser deals. The speech should definitely be considered speech by the school. First off the cheerleaders are wearing uniforms that represent the school and the girls would not be cheerleaders if they would not have been at that school. Every team or organization not only represents itself but also the school it is from, so yes those banners represent the viewpoints of the whole school. In the end, allowing religious based banners at a high school football game is violating the doctrine of separation of church and state.

12/4/2012
Irving/Tx.
Katie D
Bradley/Nimitz
The banners should be considered private speech by the cheerleaders. The ban did violate their free speech because it's asking them to no long voice what they think is inspirational to the players. The speech shouldn't be thought of as belonging to the school because the school isn't telling the individual cheerleaders what to write on the banners. Yes the cheerleaders represent their school, but at the same time they represent their opinion too. No, the doctrine of separation of church and state hasn't been violated. The cheerleaders aren't forcing their beliefs on anyone at the school; they are merely trying to inspire players before their games.

12/4/2012
Irving/Tx
Ashley C
Bradley/Nimitz
Although the banner was the private speech of the cheerleaders representing their viewpoints, the cheerleaders do represent the high school. Yes, the cheerleaders had full control of what the banner said, and yes the ban does violate their right to the first amendment, but it is not right to put religious sayings on school sporting event banners. Because the cheerleaders are representing the school at these events, they are suppose to be representing the viewpoints of the school not just of their own. Therefore, the doctrine of church and state has been violated.

12/4/2012
Irving Texas
Frankie R
Bradley Nimitz
yes the banner was a private speech by the cheerleaders, the articles mentions that the cheerleaders had full control of the banner making, therefore it was what they wanted to say. Te ban did violate their rights of speech, hundreds of school banners are made everyday and just because this one was seen at the wrong way doesn't mean it should just be pushed aside. The banner the cheerleaders made shows how the cheerleaders see things, and how their club might view things. The banner does not reflect the hole school views. The church and state doctrine is being violated in this case, and I only say that because no more banners will be allowed to be made.

12/4/2012
Irving/Texas
Monica
Bradley / Nimitz
Yes, the banners should be considered private speech by the cheerleaders. It was their choice. Though they should have thought it through to not mix religion in with school related functions, it was still their own freedom of speech. No, the cheerleaders do not present the school. There are many other schools that put inappropriate messages on their banners. Also it's wrong to define a school based on one organization. Though i do believe the doctrine of separation has been violated. They just need to think more carefully on what to put on the banners. If you think the saying can be hurtful or cause some controversy then just avoid it.

12/3/2012
Irving, TX
Sandra E.
Bradley/Nimitz
High school cheerleaders make school banners to support their school's football team. It is an act of sportsmanship. The cheerleaders make the banners themselves, from their view point, therefore, the Freedom from Religion Foundation violated their right to free speech. The fact that public schools are government property doesn't mean that everything the school says is directly coming from the government. The cheerleaders are representatives of the school just as any other school organization, their messages don't mean that the whole school agreed on it. It's what they think is best to support their school as individual students. The Freedom of Religion Foundation, to me, are over reacting to this act of support. They government didn't tell the cheerleaders, "Hey, write this on your banner." The Doctrine of Separation has not been violated because the government, in any way, did not intervene in religious beliefs.

12/3/2012
Irving/Texas
Hannah
Bradley/Nimitz
The banners created by the cheerleaders are a form of private speech and they do not reflect the opinions of anyone who is not willing to accept the banner's message. The ban violated their right to speak freely in a country with a right to say whatever we please. The banner only reflected the voices of the cheerleaders and not the school. The cheerleaders are representatives of the school but that does not mean that everything they say and do reflects the school's beliefs. The separation of church and state has to do with respecting one religion over another in which this is not a case, this banner was made in a Christian-based city and organizations outside of the state of Texas are foolishly making a fuss over a simple thing as a banner.

12/3/2012
Irving, TX
Daniela
Austin/JESA
The banners should be considered private messages because the cheerleaders are the ones that come up with that message, so it's from their beliefs and thoughts. The banning of the banners does violate their freedom of speech because they aren't able to express themselves religiously anymore. The cheerleader's banners are their ideas, therefore they do not represent the whole school.

12/3/2012
Irving/TX
Mayra Z
Bradley/Nimitz
The banners do represent the messages of the cheerleaders to the football player. They are the ones who come up in what to put in the banners.I do think its a way of expressing their religion as a whole group of cheerleaders not the whole school or teachers or faculty. The ban did violate their right of freedom of speech, once again the cheerleaders were the ones that made them not the whole school they don't work for the state, in this case they are not establishing a religion.I think the banners should represent the cheerleaders opinions not the state,they had nothing to do with what the cheerleaders put on the banners.I don't think the banners message has a school view point, they just have a cheerleader group of girls opinion because they are the ones that made them not the whole school.In this case the separation of church and state has not been violated.

12/3/2012
Irving, Tx
Dominic
Bradley/Nimitz
The banners are private speech by the cheerleaders. It was their choice to put religious verses on the banners, not anyone elses. It is a cheerleaders job to pump up a team and school. If they think that is the most effective way to do that, then why stop them? I don't think the ban though is against their right to free speech. And in no way should what they put on a banner represent the school.

12/3/2012
Irving/Tx
Heather E
Bradley/Nimitz
Every high school knows the banners made at football games are made purely by the spirit groups at the high school. As a cheerleader, I know very well what goes on with banner making. We as cheerleaders decide solely on what saying we decide to put on the banner and what colors we use. However, it is not so private if the the whole school and the other team's school sees it as well. The bane violated their right to speech because of that fact that they made the banner, they decided what message to use, and they were the ones to hang it up, what damage did it cause to people? The banners should be represented by the school because the cheerleaders do represent school spirit, however they solely created the sayings on their own, so it should be their freedom of speech. Their views do not represent the school. No other school official, or student has a say in these banners. I understand both sides to it, but after all every religion has their own specific "god" they believe in, and it's not like the school told them to make a religious banner.

12/3/2012
Irving/ TX
Amber P
Bradley/ Nimitz
Even though I don't think what the cheerleaders did was smart, I have to, unfortunately, agree with them. Yes, the ban violated their right to free speech. The speech isn't a voice by the school, and therefore shouldn't be treated as such. No they're not representatives of the school, because everyone in that school doesn't have the same exact beliefs. No the doctrine hasn't been violated- as long as it's just the cheerleaders view point- not the schools.

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