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Mississippi School District Reverses Policy Banning ‘Jesus Loves Me’ Mask After Lawsuit
epoch times ^ | 26 January A.,D. 2023 | Matt McGregor

Posted on 01/26/2023 9:34:43 AM PST by lightman

A Mississippi school district has agreed to change its religious speech policy that forbade a third grader from wearing a mask bearing the words “Jesus Loves Me.”

In October 2020 when mask mandates in schools were widespread, the principal of a school in the Simpson County School District in Pinola, Mississippi, told third grader Lydia Booth she could no longer wear her mask expressing her Christian views, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a religious freedom legal organization.

Two days later, the administration issued a policy prohibiting messages on masks that were “political, religious, sexual or inappropriate symbols, gestures or statements that may be offensive, disruptive or deemed distractive to the school environment.”

According to the lawsuit (pdf), the school’s censorship of Booth’s religious message—and the religious speech policy on which that censorship was based—violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

“Public schools have a duty to respect the free expression of students that the First Amendment guarantees to them,” ADF legal counsel Michael Ross said in a press release at the time. “While school administrators face challenges in helping students navigate school life during a pandemic, those officials simply can’t suspend the First Amendment or arbitrarily pick and choose the messages that students can or can’t express. Other students within the school district have freely worn masks with the logos of local sports teams or even the words ‘Black Lives Matter.’ This student deserves an equal opportunity to peacefully express her beliefs.”

Jennifer Booth, Lydia’s mother, attempted to show the administration that there was no policy in the school handbook that restricted her religious freedom, and that her daughter’s speech was in fact protected under the Mississippi Student Religious Freedom Act and the First Amendment, the ADF said.

The school responded with its COVID-19 response plan that included the retroactive change of its ban on face masks with religious messages, which was announced the next day to schools throughout the district.

As a result of the lawsuit ADF filed in November 2020, the Simpson County School District has changed its policy to be “viewpoint-neutral for political and religious expression,” the ADF announced on Wednesday.

“No student should be singled out for peacefully expressing her religious beliefs,” said ADF senior counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “Today’s students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, educators, and voters. That’s why it’s so important that public schools demonstrate the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students.”

The Epoch Times reached out to the Simpson County School District for comment.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; US: Mississippi
KEYWORDS: arth; covid1984; mask

Third grader Lydia Booth wearing the mask that prompted a First Amendment lawsuit after school administrators tried to ban her religious expression in Pinola, Miss. (Courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom)

1 posted on 01/26/2023 9:34:43 AM PST by lightman
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To: lightman

A rainbow homosexual mask was perfectly fine though, spit

2 posted on 01/26/2023 9:45:23 AM PST by Flavious_Maximus (Tony Fauci will be put on death row and die of COVID!)
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To: lightman

Libtards violating rights is pretty much all they do when they aren’t molesting the kids

3 posted on 01/26/2023 9:49:15 AM PST by NWFree (Somebody has to say it 🤪)
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To: Flavious_Maximus

Or a mask singing the praises of islam and the “prophet” mohammed.

4 posted on 01/26/2023 9:57:42 AM PST by No name given (Anonymous is who you’ll know me as. )
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To: lightman

These lawsuits are needed everywhere. These evil bastards will have to be beaten back district by district because they were allowed to spread like a cancer.

5 posted on 01/26/2023 10:36:55 AM PST by gibsonguy
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To: lightman

It doesn’t even say “Jesus Christ”. Maybe she has a Mexican boyfriend.

6 posted on 01/26/2023 11:13:32 AM PST by Boogieman
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To: Boogieman



7 posted on 01/26/2023 11:56:14 AM PST by lightman (I am a binary Trinitarian. Deal with it!)
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To: lightman

Would that be Panola?

8 posted on 01/26/2023 11:57:42 AM PST by vetvetdoug
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To: vetvetdoug

Nope. Had to look it up. It’s an unincorporated community. I grew up 30 miles from there, but never heard of before.

9 posted on 01/26/2023 5:31:56 PM PST by Islander7 (There is no septic system so vile, so filthy, the left won't drink from to further their agenda.)
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