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Court sides with Texas cheerleaders in Bible banner lawsuit

The district at first said the banners couldn't be displayed but later changed its policy. (Photo: James Nichols/MGN)

BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) -- A Texas appeals court has ruled banners emblazoned with Bible verses at football games by a group of cheerleaders are protected private speech and not government speech that can be regulated by school officials.

In its ruling Thursday, the 9th Court of Appeals in Beaumont said it's "highly unlikely" people would consider the messages on the banners by the Kountze school district cheerleaders to be endorsed by the school.

The district at first said the banners couldn't be displayed but later changed its policy. The cheerleaders sued in 2012.

The Texas Supreme Court last year allowed the lawsuit to continue, sending it back to the lower court.

Tom Brandt, attorney for the school district, told The Dallas Morning News the district hasn't decided if it will appeal.

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