Originally published August 27 2014
High school student gets suspension for saying 'Bless you' to classmate
by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
(NaturalNews) It's almost as if thought police are now patrolling the streets, infecting minds and inciting fear in people to restrict free thinking and free speech. It's hard to go anywhere today without feeling watched or criticized for thinking, speaking or believing freely. Another glaring example of this kind of creeping censorship was found at Dyer County High School in Tennessee. A high school student named Kendra Turner recently broke a class rule by saying "bless you" for a classmate who sneezed aloud. Reportedly, the overbearing teacher has a list of phrases written out on her whiteboard that students cannot speak. The student was reprimanded but was quick to stand up for herself and her freedom to say the simple phrase, "Bless you."
Suspended for saying "Bless you"The high school student was allegedly suspended for disorderly conduct in the classroom. The student spoke with local news about what her teacher said: "She [the teacher] said that we're not going to have godly speaking in her class and that's when I said we have a constitutional right."
Apparently, the teacher did not like the word bless, or maybe she didn't like the student's faith or positivity at all. According to reports, the teacher told the student that the phrase "Bless you" is only meant for church, not a public school setting.
After Kendra Turner defended her right to say "Bless you," the teacher grew angry and sent the student down to the office to see a school administrator. The administrators came to the conclusion that the high school girl was both disruptive and aggressive in saying the words, "Bless you," out loud in the classroom. The parents were notified, and Kendra was instructed to finish the class period in an in-school suspension session.
According to classmates, "Bless you" is one of several expression banned in the classroom, as written down on the teacher's whiteboard.
Youth pastor reveals that the teacher is bothered by student's faithWhen local news interviewed the student's youth pastor, more of the story became clear. According to youth pastor Becky Winegardner, several students had come forth in the first weeks of school and talked about the teacher's disgust and disdain with some of the students' faith.
"There were several students that were talking about this particular faculty member there that was very demeaning to them in regard to their faith," said youth pastor Winegardner. "This was something that had come up previously in the last few weeks just since the beginning of school and I shared with all of those students what their rights were."
Since then, some of Turner's classmates have protested the administrator's decision. The following week, some students wore handmade shirts that read, "Bless you."
This is a matter of heart, not Constitutional freedomsTurner told local news that she wants no trouble for her teacher but isn't afraid to stand up for her freedom to speak the kind words "Bless you." She's not afraid to defend her faith either. "It's alright to defend God and it's our constitutional right because we have a freedom of religion and freedom of speech," Turner told local news.
As honest as Kendra Turner is, saying "bless you" in the classroom really isn't even about freedom of religion or speech. It's not about being protected by the Constitution either, which is just paper and words.
Feeling free to say nice things like "bless you" is protected by the liberty flowing from the heart of each individual.
The teacher's persistence in silencing this student's kind words and faith is a problem of control and censorship that is flowing from a bitterness in her own heart.
In the end, the human spirit that's full of life, liberty and faith prevails, and efforts to silence this freedom will be put to shame.
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