Seems the Plano Independent School District was pretty surprised about Liberty Legal Institute's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Sherman on Monday, that claims the district is engaging in religious discrimination regarding its treatment of a Christian organization called Students Witnessing Absolute Truth (or S.W.A.T.). As first reported on Unfair Park, the Dallas-based LLI claims PISD forced the removal of the Bible-study group's notices from a district-wide Web site on which other student clubs are allowed to maintain home pages. But according to PISD's statement earlier this week:
"Through the press, the Plano Independent School District was made aware, for the first time, of another lawsuit filed against the District and its educators by Liberty Legal Institute. Unfortunately, no one associated with Liberty Legal ever contacted the administration before starting this unnecessary litigation. Had they contacted the District rather than filing a lawsuit, the District would have shared its willingness to review and revise policy regulations as reasonable as we have done in the past."
In that same release, Superintendent Dr. Doug Otto says after the suit was filed he conducted a review of the existing regulations and "immediately implemented a revision" allowing S.W.A.T. to post to the site. But that's not quite good enough for LLI's attorney Hiram Sasser, who shot back with this response and demand:
"The district could have prevented litigation by not denying SWAT access in the first place. Unfortunately, the district has a pattern of violating students' religious freedom and then repeatedly making attempts to cover its tracks by changing its policies overnight. In the last 13 months, the district has changed its policies three times, all in cheap litigation ploys. We hope they truly are finally sincere. And if so, they will sign an Agreed Judgment so they cannot go back and change their polices yet again."
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Sounds like one unholy mess is developing. See ya in church Sunday? Oh, wait... --Robert Wilonsky