Bricks Returned to Walkway

Bricks Returned to Walkway

Crosses take judicial route back to school grounds.

<bt>Six bricks, with a Latin cross on each, now adorn the "Walkway of Fame" at Potomac Falls High School.

The School Board has voted to return the bricks after a federal judge ruled the school district violated constitutional rights by removing them. Parents Associated with the School (PAWS) held a fund-raising project three years ago, selling engraved bricks to pay tribute to students, coaches, teachers and others. They charged an extra $5 to have a symbol, such as a soccer ball or a cross, added to the brick. The school, however, removed the bricks bearing crosses after receiving a complaint. Bricks without crosses were used as substitutes.

Wayde Byard, a spokesman for Loudoun County Public Schools, said the board voted to return them instead of appealing the U.S. District Court ruling. The vote followed a late-night executive session Oct. 26.

Four families filed suit against the school district, claiming their right to free speech was violated. Judge James C. Cacher's ruled in favor of the families. He said the brick removal was a censorship. He cited several court cases underscoring his decision that a school may not deny benefits to families based solely on their religious viewpoints.

Loudoun County Public Schools could have returned the bricks, appealed the decision or eliminated the walkway.

<1b>— Andrea Zentz