HS school student suspended for saying ‘Bless you’ to a student who sneezed

HS school student suspended for saying ‘Bless you’ to a student who sneezed

OK, we get it. The rules at Dyer County (Tenn.) High School prohibit talking in class. Apparently, the rules do not exclude double talk in class.

My Fox Memphis has the story:

A student [at the school] says she got suspended for saying “bless you” in class after a classmate sneezed.


Here is what the student posted on her Facebook page:

“A girl sitting right next me sneezed in class. I said “Bless You!” My teacher, [name redacted], asked “Who said that?” I said “me.” She said “Why did you say that?” I said “Because it is courtesy.” She said “Says who?” I said “Says my pastor.” She said “Well we don’t say that in my class.”

I asked her why it was a big deal to her. She yelled at me and said “We will not have Godly speaking in my class!”

There is more back-and-forth, but you get the general idea. The teen argued, correctly, that the teacher was abrogating her First Amendment rights. The teacher imputed the existence of a higher authority in the classroom — i.e., herself. That may or may not be valid. It would be up to a court to decide.

But it appears that won’t be necessary. The teacher has changed her tune. She now insists that it was not the religiosity of the girl’s utterance that was bothersome but rather the student’s violation of a general prohibition against talking unless called upon to speak.

As an explanation for the girl’s in-school suspension, Assistant Principal Lynn Garner is on record as saying that the disciplinary action taken against the student was for the disruption she caused.

The bottom line appears to be that the teacher not only infringed on the student’s Constitutional rights but lacked the backbone to admit that that’s what she had done. What kind of lesson does that communicate?

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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