Parents sue school after girl, 9, ordered to remove ‘Jesus Loves Me’ face mask

A couple is taking legal action against their daughter’s school after claiming she was ordered to remove a mask with the slogan ‘Jesus Loves Me’ in class.

Lydia Booth, who wants to become a missionary, was ‘deeply affected’ when she was ‘forced’ to take the face covering off in a computer lesson, lawyers say. The nine-year-old said it ‘means something to her’ and ‘it is her choice to wear it’.

Lydia’s parents, Matthew and Jennifer, reportedly claim a teacher at Simpson Central Elementary School in Pinola, Mississippi, US, asked Lydia to replace her mask with a plain design.

The headteacher apparently said the ‘Jesus Loves Me’ mask was ‘against district policy’, reports. But the family claim the policy was only changed two days after they made a complaint.

Now lawyers have said Lydia was ‘singled out’ and ‘robbed of her constitutional rights’ after the incident in October. And they have accused the school of ‘discriminating’ against people who wear masks expressing religious beliefs.

The family say other students were wearing masks with slogans including ‘Black Lives Matter’ and sports team logos.

The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the third-grade pupil in a federal lawsuit against the school.

The multimillion-dollar evangelical Christian organisation has been accused of being an anti-LGBT ‘hate group’. It is said to have links to newly confirmed US Supreme Court Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, selected by Donald Trump – although she insisted she was unaware of its reported LGBT stance.

Senior counsel, Tyson Langhofer, said of the case: ‘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 and that not allowable in the first amendment.

‘(Lydia’s) told her parents she wants to be a missionary and that’s why she wants to wear this mask,’ he added.

‘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.

Wesla Sullivan, attorney for the Simpson County School Board is said to have responded by saying: ‘The district has not been served with process and does not comment on perspective litigation.’

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