DALLAS — Two Burleson High School students filed a federal lawsuit today against the Burleson school district over a year-old incident in which school officials denied them the right to carry Confederate battle flag purses to school.

Attorneys for the Southern Legal Resource Center prepared the lawsuit on behalf of Aubrie Michelle McAllum and Ashley Paige Thomas, who contend their constitutional rights were violated in January 2006 when school officials prevented them from carrying their new purses to school.

The teens were not punished for carrying the purses, but were sent home when they refused to turn them over. They were also told not to bring them to school again. The next day, when they returned to school with the purses wrapped in black cloth marked "censored," they were again sent home.

The lawsuit alleges that the district selectively applied the dress code by singling out the Confederate flag for exclusion while permitting students to wear other controversial symbols, including the swastika.

After a lengthy appeals process in which the girls’ attorneys attempted to get the district to lift the ban on the flag attire, the federal lawsuit is seeking a declaration that the girls’ rights were violated, removal of any disciplinary action from their records and unspecified monetary damages.

The suit names high school principal Paul Cash as well as school trustees

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