A Mississippi third-grader had her First Amendment rights curtailed after she was forced to remove her “Jesus Loves Me,” mask, a lawsuit claims.
9-year-old Lydia Booth, who attends Simpson Central Elementary School in Pinola, was wearing the mask on October 13 when the principal ordered her to take it off. The principal maintained that the mask violated district policy.
In a later statement, the school banned any masks displaying “political, religious, sexual or any inappropriate symbols, gestures or statements that may be offensive, disruptive or deemed distractive to the school environment.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom filed the federal lawsuit on Lydia’s family’s behalf on Monday claiming that the district had violated her free speech.
Michael Ross, an ADF attorney, said: “Public schools have a duty to respect the free expression of students that the First Amendment guarantees to them. 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.”
Tyson Langhofer, a senior counsel at ADF, stated that Lydia had been upset by the school’s action.
He said: “She’s told her parents she wants to be a missionary and that’s why she wants to wear this mask. It made her really sad when she was forced to remove this mask because the message means something to her and it’s her choice to wear it.”
An attorney representing the Simpson County School Board stated that the district had not yet been served in the lawsuit but maintained that he doesn’t comment on potential litigation.
Sources: America Now