A Mississippi school district changes its policy banning political or religious speech by allowing students to wear a “Jesus loves me” face mask.
Mississippi school district
During the surge of the coronavirus, third-grade student Lydia Booth came to her school in Simpson County, Mississippi wearing her favorite mask. Her favorite mask has the words “Jesus Loves Me” printed in bright pink. It became her favorite mask as she feels protected and guarded by Jesus whenever she wears that mask.
“It makes me feel like I’m protected by Jesus,” she said. “And it makes me think people will think it’s a great mask, and that Jesus is a great God, and a great Savior.”
However, her teacher from one of her classes forced her to remove her mask because it spoke of religious matters. Her mother Jennifer searched through all the school’s regulations to search for answers as to why her daughter’s mask is considered inappropriate, but she didn’t find anything about it.
There’s no rule that bans any student from wearing a “Jesus Loves Me” mask. What she saw was a section about protecting students’ freedom of speech. After finding nothing wrong with her daughter’s mask, she let Lydia wear the same mask to school again.
“Jesus Loves Me” Face Mask
But later that day, she received a call from the principal saying that the 9-year-old can’t wear the mask because students “can’t have religious or political things on masks at school.” Lydia was confused and didn’t know why she was being prohibited to wear her favorite mask.
“It made me sad, and a little confused,” Lydia remembers. “Sad, because I love the words on that mask. And confused because I didn’t know why it was happening.”
Thankfully, Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal nonprofit organization specializing in religious freedom cases, represented Lydia. In November 2020, ADF filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family. On Wednesday, it was announced that the school district agreed on letting students express their religious beliefs. Lydia can now freely share the love of Jesus with her classmates.
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Reference: Alliance Defending Freedom