In Victory for Spiritual Freedom, Scholar Will Be Allowed to Put on ‘Jesus Loves Me’ Masks at College

In what some are calling a victory for spiritual freedom, elementary schooler Lydia Sales space, 11, will now be allowed to put on her “Jesus Loves Me” face masks to high school if she chooses.  

Following two years of authorized proceedings, a settlement has been reached between the Simpson County College District in Mississippi and the attorneys representing Lydia.  

“No pupil ought to be singled out for peacefully expressing her spiritual beliefs,” Tyson Langhofer, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel, mentioned in a press release Wednesday.  

Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal-aid group, filed a lawsuit towards the Simpson County College District in 2020 on behalf of Lydia, who was 9 on the time, after college district officers instructed the kid she couldn’t put on her “Jesus Loves Me” masks to high school.

In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic within the fall of 2020, Lydia got here house and instructed her mother that she was not allowed to put on her “Jesus Loves Me” face masks anymore, regardless of having worn it to high school earlier than with out difficulty.  

Her mom, Jennifer Sales space, defined to The Each day Sign, throughout a earlier podcast interview, that she assumed the trainer who spoke to her daughter should have been having a foul day and despatched Lydia again to high school with the “Jesus Loves Me” masks.  

“The principal calls me, and she or he’s like, ‘We’re going to need to have Lydia swap her masks out,’” Sales space recounted, including that the principal mentioned it was towards college coverage “to have spiritual symbols or gestures on her masks.” However upon inspecting the college handbook, Sales space says, the one prohibitions the principal may level to referred to “drug tradition, profanity, [and] obscenities.” 

See also  State Legislative Push for College Selection Features Momentum Nationwide

Sales space continued to contact leaders of the Simpson County College District, about 40 miles south of Jackson, Miss., asking for an evidence as to why her daughter was not allowed to put on her “Jesus” masks to high school. The mom was finally instructed that the college district’s COVID-19 coverage prevents spiritual symbols or phrases on masks.  

A replica of the coverage was despatched to Sales space, however upon investigation, she found that the COVID-19 coverage she obtained had been modified lower than an hour earlier than it was emailed to her to incorporate language barring college students from carrying masks expressing spiritual views.  

Sales space selected to take authorized motion towards the college district as a result of “this 12 months is the masks; subsequent 12 months is the T-shirt. Finally, you may’t say Jesus’ identify at school.” 

The Mississippi college district has agreed within the settlement to “retract its earlier restriction on masks which have ‘political’ or ‘spiritual’ content material and can permit Lydia to put on her ‘Jesus Loves Me’ face masks to high school if she chooses to take action,” Alliance Defending Freedom mentioned in a press release Wednesday.  

“Public faculties haven’t any enterprise discriminating towards a 9-year-old for her spiritual expression,” Michael Ross, Alliance Defending Freedom authorized counsel, mentioned in a press release.  

“Different college students inside the college district have freely worn masks with the logos of native sports activities groups and even the phrases ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Lydia deserves, and can now have, an equal alternative to peacefully specific her beliefs,” Ross mentioned.  

See also  ‘Did He Simply Shoot Me?’ 84-Yr-Previous Girl Shot Whereas Canvassing on Abortion Speaks Out

The Simpson County College District didn’t reply to The Each day Sign’s request for remark.  

“It’s a long-standing precept that college students don’t give up their First Modification rights on the schoolhouse doorways—and the Supreme Court docket has so held,” Sarah Parshall Perry, a senior authorized fellow with the Middle for Authorized and Judicial Research at The Heritage Basis, instructed The Each day Sign. (The Each day Sign is the information outlet of The Heritage Basis.)

“Fortunately, the Simpson County College District has agreed to alter its patently unconstitutional speech coverage, however solely after a federal lawsuit was filed,” Perry mentioned. “Colleges would do nicely to recollect the constitutional rights of scholars can’t be merely suspended—throughout a pandemic or in any other case.”   

In mild of the settlement settlement, Alliance Defending Freedom has requested the U.S. District Court docket for the Southern District of Mississippi to dismiss the lawsuit.  

“At this time’s college students will likely be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, educators, and voters,” Langhofer mentioned. “That’s why it’s so vital that public faculties show the First Modification values they’re purported to be instructing to college students.” 

Have an opinion about this text? To pontificate, please e mail [email protected] and we’ll think about publishing your edited remarks in our common “We Hear You” function. Keep in mind to incorporate the url or headline of the article plus your identify and city and/or state.