[Baptist Press News] December 17, 2004--In a victory for pro-family groups, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against a Texas school district Dec. 16, thus allowing school children there to exchange Christian-themed gifts.
U.S. District Paul Brown’s order against the Plano Independent School District said that “there is substantial likelihood that Plaintiffs will prevail on the merits” when the case receives a full hearing. Attorneys for the Liberty Legal Institute and the Alliance Defense Fund – two pro-family legal groups – filed the lawsuit Dec. 15. They asked for the temporary restraining order because “winter break” parties were scheduled to take place Dec. 17 in the Dallas-area school district.
One year ago at the same party, Jonathan Morgan, a third-grade student, allegedly was prevented from handing out “goody bags” that included candy canes with a Christian message. That student, along with a handful of others, are involved in the lawsuit.
“The court finds that there is evidence that Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injury if the court does not grant the Temporary Restraining Order and that the injury will occur immediately,” Brown wrote.
Attorneys for the children’s families praised the ruling.
“We are very pleased with Judge Brown’s decision to uphold the Constitution and grant the students the right to express their religious beliefs as they desire,” Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Legal Institute, said in a statement.
Doug Morgan, Jonathan's father, told the AP that his son "really feels affirmed that exercising his right of religious expression in public is appropriate."