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Parents sue Miss. school district over ban of daughter’s ‘Jesus Loves Me’ mask

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 11:29 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The parents of a Simpson County elementary school student filed suit in federal court against the school district after she was ordered to remove her “Jesus Loves Me” face mask.

According to attorneys, the district singled out the girl and robbed her of her constitutional rights.

In October, Lydia Booth, 9, wore a “Jesus Loves Me” face mask to Simpson Central Elementary School in Pinola.

Lydia Booth, 9, wore a “Jesus Loves Me” face mask to Simpson Central Elementary School in...
Lydia Booth, 9, wore a “Jesus Loves Me” face mask to Simpson Central Elementary School in Pinola, Mississippi, in October. She was asked to remove it.(Source: Alliance Defending Freedom via WLBT)

Her parents, Matthew and Jennifer Booth, say the principal told Lydia to remove it and gave her another with no message on it. He then reportedly informed her the “Jesus Loves Me” mask was against district policy.

The Booths say the policy was changed to prohibit messages only after they objected to Lydia being told to remove the mask.

The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the third grader in a federal lawsuit against the Simpson County School District.

“When the school is discriminating against individuals who want to wear masks expressing religious beliefs but are allowing students and faculty to wear masks expressing messages with other beliefs, that’s not allowed by the First Amendment,” said Alliance Defending Freedom senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer.

The Alliance Defending Freedom filed the lawsuit Monday.

Meanwhile, Langhofer said the school’s actions have deeply affected the elementary school student.

“She’s told her parents she wants to be a missionary, and that’s why she wants to wear this mask,” Langhofer said."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."

Simpson County School Board attorney Wesla Sullivan said the district has not been served with process and does not comment on perspective litigation.

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