The Medina Valley Independent School District (“ISD”) reached a mediated settlement agreement (“MSA”) with an agnostic family that argued that traditions at the Medina Valley ISD excluded their son’s beliefs. See Schultz v. Medina Valley Indep. Sch. Dist. No. SA-11-CA-422-FB, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126969 (W.D. Tex. Nov. 2, 2011). The issue in the case was whether the Constitution allows for a governmental body (the Medina Valley ISD) to promote and use tax dollars for the establishment of particular religious beliefs. Both sides invoked the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Fred Biery approved the MSA on February 9, 2012. Under the MSA, the Medina Valley ISD won’t officially make prayer part of graduation ceremonies. The MSA does not, however, prohibit valedictorians or other student speakers from praying. Those moments must be introduced as “student remarks.”
The MSA was accompanied by a personal statement by Judge Biery in which he thanks the U.S. Marshal Service and local police for their heightened security during the course of the case. Judge Biery also said that he forgives “those Christians who have venomously and vomitously cursed the Court family and threatened bodily harm and assassination.”