DALLAS (AP) _ A federal judge has dismissed a case by current and former Burleson students who sued after school officials banned them from carrying purses bearing the Confederate battle flag.
The ruling released Tuesday by Judge David C. Godbey ends the more than year-long lawsuit filed on behalf of then-juniors Ashley Thomas and Aubrie McAllum by the Southern Legal Resource Center, The Dallas Morning News reported in its Wednesday online edition.
The teens took the purses to school in early 2006 after receiving them as Christmas gifts in 2005, according to the lawsuit that asked the school district to clear the girls' student record, acknowledge that their constitutional rights were violated and pay unspecified damages. Burleson school district officials tried to confiscate the purses and then sent the girls home when they refused to turn them over.
School district officials in Burleson, about 10 miles south of Fort Worth, said the symbols could be disruptive because of the racial overtones.
The district noted in court filings that soon after the publicized dispute, profane and racist graffiti featuring the "N” word and a swastika were scrawled on a Burleson High restroom wall, and someone raised a homemade Confederate battle flag at the school flagpole.
Apparent supporters of Thomas and McAllum distributed a pro-Confederate flag flier at school saying: "Your ignorance isn't a reason for our heritage to be hidden."
Thomas' younger sister, then a sophomore at Burleson High, was later added to the lawsuit filed last year. North Carolina-based Southern Legal Resource Center has fought similar bans throughout the country.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.