SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The Bossier Parish School Board has decided to fight a federal lawsuit claiming it promotes Christianity.
The vote followed a two-hour long executive session during a special meeting on Tuesday, September 11.
Board members voted unanimously to go forward in fighting the federal lawsuit filed against the district.
“The board acknowledges that there’ve been past transgressions. But they have, in good faith, come up with a policy which they will follow. And they believe that policy to be in full compliance with the law,” explained board attorney Jon Guice.
The Bossier School Board approved its new religious expression policy back in April, two months after the federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of several parents who allege their children were subjected to unwanted and unconstitutional religious messages.
But Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the agency that helped the parents file suit, still questions whether that policy is enforceable.
Guice insists it is enforceable. “Our policy has a complaint process at the very end of it.” Many question just how much this legal battle will cost the Bossier School District.
According to Guice, they have spent about $50 thousand so far. But Guice is quick to add that they’d be paying a far higher bill, in fees, if they had chosen to settle the case right now.
School Board Members tell us they have done enough already to resolve this issue and now is the time to take a stance. District 5 School Board member Michael Mosura explained, “I think we went as far as we’re willing to go, to be honest with you. I think the negotiating at this point is not worth, you know, going any further.”
Board members, like Mosura, said they’re confident a judge will side with them. A court date is now set for April of next year.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of several Bossier parents on February 7, claims Bossier Schools allow prayer and Christian messages on school grounds and special school events.
Also on Tuesday, board members voted to allow the logo of Christ Fit Gym on the Benton High School football field.
The gym’s logo was covered up Friday before a judge ruled that it should stay until a court hearing on September 20.
At last check, Christ Fit Gym has a lawsuit pending against the Benton Football Booster Club. However, Billy Weatherall, owner of Christ Fit Gym, told KSLA News 12 on Monday, “If people want it to go away, just put the cross back on the field. If we put it back on the field, it’s over.”
On Friday, attorney Jon Guice said the Bossier School Board was not named in the lawsuit.