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January 25 11:49 AM

Bossier Schools issues statement in AU case

Today, the Bossier Parish School Board and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State submitted a Consent Order to the Court for its consideration, following negotiations for a potential resolution of the case.

Part of that Order calls for a slight revision of the Board’s Religious Expression Policy, a copy of which was attached to the filing with the court.

We are currently awaiting the court’s action on the documents at this time, but Bossier Schools feels confident the revisions offered resolve most of the issues presented in the lawsuit and will be found agreeable by the court.

Since the beginning, it has been the Bossier Parish School Board’s resolve to stand united in an effort to preserve every student’s freedom of religious expression. This resolution does exactly that.

The Board adopted a Religious Expression Policy last year which resolved most of the issues presented in the lawsuit, and the parties' resolution simply provides for certain minor revisions in the policy to address its implementation.

The Bossier Parish School Board is pleased it could reach an agreement that:

— Protects the rights of students to pray at school and at school events.

— Allows students to speak at school events.

— Does not penalize employees who bow their heads out of respect for such prayers when offered.

—Allows teachers of both substantive areas and the arts to teach about religion in an objective manner.

— Allows student clubs of all kinds, including FCA, to continue to organize, meet, and be active on campus.

—Allows students to express their own ideas verbally and to distribute literature.

— Allows employees to wear items of jewelry that may include symbols associated with religion.

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