PLANO, Texas — A suburban school district has voted to grant a Bible-study group the same privileges as secular school clubs as part of an effort to settle a discrimination lawsuit.
A group called Students Witnessing Absolute Truth sued the Plano school district north of Dallas last month after school officials briefly removed club information from the Haggard Middle School Web site.
School board trustees voted on April 24 to offer club privileges as part of a formal settlement offer that would award $100 in damages to the Bible-study group and its 13-year-old leader, Michael Shell. The school district also would pay the group's legal costs but admit no wrongdoing.
Liberty Legal Institute, a local group that has filed several lawsuits over religious issues and represents the Bible-study group, said the offer looked good and a resolution appeared likely.
The institute argued in its suit that the group was unfairly denied benefits because it was religious, but the school's principal had said it was treated differently because it was the only club on the site not related to school curriculum.
The institute has another pending suit against Plano schools, also involving the Shell family, which alleges that a student was forbidden from distributing candy-cane pens with religious messages at a school party in 2003.