Mississippi school district allows 3rd-grader to wear ‘Jesus Loves Me’ mask after policy change
ADF lawsuit prompts enactment of a new policy that means students can’t be singled out, censored
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Simpson County School District has agreed to change a policy that prohibited a 3rd-grade student from wearing a face mask with the phrase “Jesus Loves Me” on it.
According to a press release, the student, Lydia Booth wanted to peacefully share her views with her schoolmates by wearing the mask. But, the principal at her school in Pinola, Mississippi asked Booth to remove and replace her mask even though Booth had previously worn the mask without disruption on October 13, 2020.
Two days later, administrators announced a districtwide policy that prohibits messages on masks that are “political, religious, sexual or inappropriate symbols, gestures or statements that may be offensive, disruptive or deemed distractive to the school environment.”
As a result of the lawsuit, filed in November 2020, the district has changed its policies to be viewpoint-neutral for political and religious expression.
“No student should be singled out for peacefully expressing her religious beliefs,” said Alliance Defending Freedom 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.”
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