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Judge Orders Schools to Allow Students to Distribute Religious Gifts

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Judge Orders Schools to Allow Students to Distribute Religious Gifts


PLANO, Texas (AP) - A federal judge ordered Thursday that Plano public schools allow students to distribute "religious viewpoint gifts" to classmates at holiday parties scheduled for Friday.

The order by U.S. District Judge Paul Brown in Sherman came a day after four families filed a federal lawsuit accusing the district north of Dallas of banning Christmas and religious expression from their children's classrooms.

Earlier Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department said it is investigating the allegations and asked the plaintiffs' attorneys to provide copies of all pleadings, affidavits, exhibits and other correspondence involved in the lawsuit.

Richard Abernathy, the school district's attorney, did not immediately return telephone messages from The Associated Press on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Abernathy denied the families' claims and said school officials recently decided to allow the distribution of all materials - religious or otherwise - at Friday's annual holiday parties. That would be a change from past years.

Liberty Legal Institute, www.libertylegal.org

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