SCHOOL BOARD BAN ON STAR OF DAVID FAILS
Catalyst October Issue 1999
Citing concerns over gangs who wear six-pointed stars, a Mississippi school board announced in August that the Star of David was now banned from school property. Harrison County school Superintendent Henry Arledge justified the board decision by saying it was done to protect the welfare of the students. The Catholic League immediately protested the decision, finding itself on the same side as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The school board also considered banning crosses but decided not to do so.
The ACLU filed suit in U.S. District Court representing a Jewish student who was ordered to remove the Jewish symbol. The Catholic League’s position, as released to the media, was as follows:
“Ridding the schools of violence is a must, but it cannot be done by sacrificing religious liberties in the process. The decision by the Harrison County school board was at the very least ignoble and at the worst anti-Semitic. Either way, the Catholic League sees a vital religious liberty at stake and will file an amicus brief against the school board, presuming the case moves beyond the District level.
“This has to be one of the dumbest decisions we’ve heard about coming from a school board, and we’ve heard of plenty.”
As it turned out, the school board quickly overturned its decision by voting unanimously to exempt religious symbols from its policy prohibiting gang apparel. The Catholic League was just as quick in commending the school board for its action.