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Group Appeals Religious School Suit to High Court

Families sued in 2004 after kids banned from giving away religious items

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    A Dallas-area religious group has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court a ruling that gives legal immunity to educators who stopped students from handing out religious items in schools.

    A federal appeals court in September ruled that two elementary school principals in Plano are immune from liability for their actions in late 2003.

    The Plano-based Liberty Institute filed an appeal Thursday.

    Four families sued in 2004, claiming their youngsters were banned from giving away pencils saying "Jesus is the reason for the season" and candy canes with cards describing their Christian origin.

    The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Lynn Swanson and Jackie Bomchill had qualified immunity from facing court damages. But the court ruled that the principals may have violated the children's free-speech rights.