Tags: bless | you | suspension | religious | intolerance

'Bless You' Suspension Called Religious Intolerance by Student

By    |   Friday, 22 August 2014 12:24 PM

A high school student in Memphis said she was suspended for saying "bless you" after another classmate sneezed.

In an interview with local news station WMC-TV, the student, 17-year-old Kendra Turner of Dyer County High School, said it was a clear-cut case of religious intolerance on the part of her teacher.

"She said that we're not going to have godly speaking in her class, and that's when I said 'we have a constitutional right,'" she told the station. Turner said that her pastor had told her that she should always stand up for her freedom of religion.

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In a separate interview, the youth pastor, Becky Winegardner, reported that, "There were several students that were talking about this particular faculty member there that was very demeaning to them in regard to their faith . . . I shared with all of those students what their rights were."

After Turner defended her speech, she said the teacher sent her to the administrator's office, and she finished the period in in-school suspension.

The Tennessean reported that other students in the class later showed off a picture of the classroom's whiteboard, where the teacher had written a list of banned phrases. "Bless you" was among the banned phrases, along with "my bad," ''hang out," ''dumb," ''stupid" and "stuff."

On Tuesday, Assistant Principal Lynn Garner noted that there are "two sides to every story," adding that, "In this case, this was not a religious issue at all, but more of an issue the teacher felt was a distraction in her class."

Turner's parents said that the explanation they were given by the school was that Kendra shouted "bless you" from across the room in an attempt to disrupt the lesson.

Some students wore handmade t-shirts with the words "bless you" written on them in a show of support for Turner following the incident.

Turner told reporters that it was not her intention for her teacher to be "bashed" because "that's kind of harmful and disrespectful."

She added, however, "I want God to be able to be talked about in school."

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A high school student in Memphis said she was suspended for saying "bless you" after another classmate sneezed.
bless, you, suspension, religious, intolerance
Friday, 22 August 2014 12:24 PM
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