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Religious Harassment Lawsuit settled in Sabine Parish - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Religious Harassment Lawsuit settled in Sabine Parish

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SABINE PARISH, La. -

In January of 2014, the Lane family and the ACLU sued the Sabine Parish School Board alleging public school officials harassed a 6th grader because of his faith.  And, that the district routinely endorses and encourages unconstitutional practices.

On March 14th, a consent decree and ordered was filed by a federal district court ruling in favor of the plaintiffs and against the school board.  UPDATE:  The original lawsuit included Dr. Sara Ebarb, Rita Roark, and Gene Wright, alleging various constitutional violations. The defendants maintained that the ACLU did not have viable claims against these individuals. Accordingly, the ACLU agreed to dismiss Dr. Ebarb, Mrs. Roark, and Mr. Wright.

The agreement includes a long list of prohibited practices by the school district, including:

          -Schools officials are barred from promoting, endorsing, or advancing Prayer during school or at school events

          -They're prohibited from promoting their own religious beliefs at school

          -School officials can't retaliate against the family because of the lawsuit

          -Officials can't promote or state personal religious beliefs or religious affiliations on the District's website

Yet, searching on Google for "Sabine Parish School Board" yields two district taxpayer-funded websites.  One of the results has a section titled "Beliefs" where it reads "We believe that God exists."

UPDATE: The Beliefs page of the Sabine Parish School Board's website has now been removed.  It is unclear what date this page was removed, but it is no longer live and active.  http://www2.sabine.k12.la.us/district/believe04.htm

The judge also ordered the board provide her order to all school officials, so it's clear what is allowed, and what isn't.  And, all employees in the district must begin training to understand the first amendment.

The judge ordered the board to pay the plaintiffs $40,000 in legal fees and $4,000 for travel expenses incurred bringing the student to another school.  The student will also now be picked up by bus and driven to his new school.

Related links:

http://www.ktbs.com/story/24645989/religious-harassment-lawsuit-filed-against-sabine-parish-school

http://www.ktbs.com/story/24828598/sabine-parish-school-board-files-answer-with-court-in-response-to-aclu-lawsuit

 

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