Bossier School Board receives consent decree in religion lawsuit

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A federal judge has approved a settlement and placed the Bossier Parish School Board under a consent decree regarding the lawsuit over religious activities in the school system.

U.S. District Court Judge Maurice Hicks Jr. on Wednesday approved an agreement reached in January between the Bossier Parish School District and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

The group sued the school district in February 2018 after several parents complained their children had been subjected to unwanted religious messages and the schools promoted Christianity.

Judge Hicks also handed down a consent decree for the board that places a permanent injunction on the school board from promoting or advancing religion in schools and monitories the activities of schools.

The decree also requires the board to revise part of its religious expression policy, offer training to faculty, establish a process for investigating complaints from students and/or parents regarding promotion of religion, and provide monthly reports to a Monitoring Committee. 

The order also says the School Board will be required to pay all the Plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees, costs, and litigation expenses. 

Judge Hicks cited admissions of violating First Amendment rights made by the Bossier Parish School Board in a January 2019 agreement with the Plaintiffs. 

The order says the board agreed that some of its policies and practices endorsed and promoted religion, had the effect of advancing religion, and/or coerced religious exercise either directly or indirectly.

You can read the consent decree in full HERE.