Return the Bricks?

Return the Bricks?

The School Board will decide before Election Day whether to return six bricks bearing the Latin cross to a Potomac Falls High School walkway.

Chairman John Andrews said the board members will meet in executive session for a second time to resolve the issue. They have until Nov. 2 to make a decision, he said.

U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris has ruled the school district violated the parents’ constitutional rights to free speech by removing the bricks from the “walkway of fame.”

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 as a “lasting memory.” Purchasers paid an addition $5 to have a symbol, such as a soccer ball or a sneaker, added to the brick. After a complaint, the school removed the bricks bearing crosses and replaced them without the religious symbols.

Four families of Potomac Falls High School students filed suit against Loudoun County Public Schools.

Cacheris, in a 50-page ruling this month, wrote that the school district “censored” the purchasers who chose the cross as their symbol. The board could return the bricks, appeal the decision or eliminate the walkway.

The judge cited several court cases underscoring his decision that a school may not deny benefits to families based solely on their religious viewpoint.

Andrews said he could not discuss the issue, but his position remains the same as it was before the lawsuit. He favors returning the bricks.

<1b>— Andrea Zentz