Feds Refuse to Let Principals Off the Hook in Candy Cane Case

A federal appeals court has ruled that two Plano elementary school principals can be held personally liable in a lawsuit over a student’s distribution of religious Christmas candy canes.

Principals Lynn Swanson and Jackie Bomchill wanted to be dismissed from the suit, claiming qualified immunity, but a lower court denied their request. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed that ruling on Thursday.

The principal’s attorney, Tom Brandt, says his clients will appeal. He says the principals didn’t practice religious-viewpoint discrimination against any students as is alleged.

Four families with students in Plano schools sued, alleging their children had been banned from handing out pencils saying “Jesus is the reason for the season,” candy canes with cards describing their Christian origin, and other religious materials.

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