Education

Just Because Supreme Court Passes on PISD-Off Parents' Appeal Doesn't Mean This is Over

At this late date is there really any reason to go back and retell the tale of the Ghost of War on Christmas Past? You remember this, right? Kids at Plano Independent School District elementary schools pass out "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" pencils and Christian-flavored candy canes amongst other religious doodads; school district says, "Nuh-unh"; parents say, "Yuh-hunh"; Bill O'Reilly shouts, "War on Christmas!"; lawyers say, "Whoo-hoo"; courts say, "Ho ho no."

Anyway. Right before Christmas last year the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that PISD's policy was Constitutional. So, off to the U.S. Supreme Court went the parents. Except, today, the Supremes refused to hear the appeal. But by no means is this over: There are still claims remaining against the individual defendants -- Lynn Swanson, principal of Thomas Elementary, and Jackie Bomchill, principal of Rasor Elementary. Those are working their way through district court and the 5th Circuit, which recently heard oral arguments and will hand down its ruling, well, when it gets 'round it.

"I think it was the right decision," says Josh Skinner,  the Dallas attorney repping the two Plano principals, when I called to ask him about the Supremes' pass today. "It means the current policy has been upheld, and that the 5th Circuit's ruling upholding it stands." But he's not celebrating, since his clients -- who acted to enforce district policy -- are awaiting the district and appeals courts' ruling. The plaintiffs, he summarizes, "argued they were not acting within language of the policy. They haven't proven any of that, but that's what they are saying."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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