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Meet Wess Jones

Wess Jones is a small business owner in Texas. He’s also a bass fishing dad. Since his teenage daughter is a member of Flower Mound High School’s Bass Fishing Club, Mr. Jones spends many weekends captaining his daughter’s boat while she fishes in tournaments.

But Jones’ time on the water isn’t limited to the weekends – he spends most of his days on docks and marinas as the owner of 1st Choice Marine, a small boat repair business. As a devout Christian, Jones believes in honoring God through his business, which is reflected in his company’s slogan, “It’s Not About Us, It’s All About Jesus.”

Early in the 2016 school year, Flower Mound High School (FMHS) invited parents to sponsor the school’s bass fishing club. Jones readily agreed, paying a sponsorship fee in exchange for his company’s logo being featured on the club’s website and jerseys for the next four years. View letter from FMHS to potential sponsors

Flower Mound High School rejects logo because it references “Jesus”

On September 6, 2016, Mr. Jones provided the 1st Choice Marine logo to the school. However, the next day, a school official said that they could not use the business’s logo because the company’s slogan, “It’s not about us, it’s all about Jesus,” could put the school “in real hot water.” View email correspondence

In a letter giving sponsorship guidelines, the school said that students should only solicit businesses that are “school appropriate.” Any logos that included references to “drugs, alcohol [or] tobacco” or any other logos that “could be construed as offensive” would be rejected. View guidelines from school on logo

Jones was stunned that the school would refuse to use the logo simply because it referenced Jesus. He reminded the school official that his company was not affiliated with the school, making the logo his private speech. However, the school officials declined to allow the logo as long as it contained the religious reference.

 

First Liberty Legal Action

On October 19, 2016, First Liberty Institute sent a demand letter to Flower Mound High School, asking them to correct the situation.

“We are grateful to Lewisville ISD for taking swift action to correct this situation,” Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute, says. “They are a great example to school districts everywhere of how to work with parents and children to ensure that First Amendment freedoms are protected in school.”

“I am very pleased that the school district decided to do the right thing,” Wess Jones, the owner of 1st Choice Marine, says.

Shortly after First Liberty sent the demand letter, Lewisville ISD issued this statement:  “FMHS Bass Club is a student-founded and student-led group separate from Flower Mound High School.  The organization is not affiliated with or sponsored by Lewisville ISD.  As such, the students in the club are free to make decisions regarding who may pay to sponsor their club and which logos are placed on their jerseys, website, and/or other areas under their control.  Flower Mound HS administration therefore cannot require prior approval for such sponsorships or logos.  The District will not further interfere in which logos or sponsorships the FMHS Bass Club chooses to accept.”

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release: October 19, 2016

Contact: Christine Tang, ctang@firstliberty.org
Cell: 469-562-9484, Direct: 469-440-7601

Wess Jones, owner of 1st Choice Marine (Photo credit: First Liberty Institute. May be republished.)

HIGH SCHOOL REVERSES POSITION, AGREES TO ALLOW CLUB SPONSOR’S LOGO WITH “JESUS”

Six hours after First Liberty sends demand letter, Flower Mound High School agrees to use sponsor’s original logo without censoring religious content


 Flower Mound, Tex. – Today, Flower Mound High School (FMHS) reversed their position and agreed to use the business logo of 1st Choice Marine, a company that is owned by FMHS parent Wess Jones. The logo features the slogan “It’s not about us, it’s all about Jesus.”

“We are grateful to Flower Mound High School for taking swift action to correct this situation,” Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute, says. “They are a great example to school districts everywhere of how to work with parents and children to ensure that First Amendment freedoms are protected in school.”

“I am very pleased that the school district decided to do the right thing,” Wess Jones, the owner of 1st Choice Marine, says.

FMHS asked local businesses to sponsor the school’s bass fishing club and Jones had readily agreed, paying a sponsorship fee in exchange for his company’s logo being featured on the club’s website and jerseys for the next four years. However, a school official said that they could not use the business’s logo because of its slogan “It’s not about us, it’s all about Jesus.”

First Liberty sent a demand letter on the morning of October 19, asking FMHS to allow the logo. Six hours later, FMHS agreed to allow the logo with the slogan.

In a statement, FHMS says, “…the students in the club are free to make decisions regarding who may pay to sponsor their club and which logos are placed on their jerseys, website, and/or other areas under their control. Flower Mound HS administration therefore cannot require prior approval for such sponsorships or logos. The District will not further interfere in which logos or sponsorships the FMHS Bass Club chooses to accept.”

Read more about the case at FirstLiberty.org/1stChoiceMarine

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Christine Tang, Associate Counsel for First Liberty Institute. Email: ctang@firstliberty.org, Direct: 469-440-7601, Cell: 469-562-9484.

To download this press release, please click here.


Press Releases

First Liberty Press Release – 10/19/16 AM

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