The principal of Simpson Central Elementary School in Pinola, Mississippi, told Lydia Booth she would need to remove the mask. According to the lawsuit, the principal says it is against district policy.
WLBT reports the school system said it was against policy to display “political, religious, sexual or any inappropriate symbols, gestures or statements that may be offensive, disruptive or deemed distractive to the school environment.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom has taken Lydia’s case. That’s because they claim in the lawsuit that the school district violated her free speech.
Lydia’s mom, Jennifer, says the school’s handbook doesn’t include a policy that limits religious expression. In fact, she claims the guidelines protect her daughter’s freedom of speech under the Mississippi Student Religious Freedom Act.
The Alliance Defending Freedom filed the lawsuit Monday.
Lawyer: Third-Grade Girl Has Deep Religious Faith
ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said Lydia has a deep religious faith, and therefore, the school’s actions have harmed her.
“She’s told her parents she wants to be a missionary. And that’s why she wants to wear this mask,” Langhofer says, according to WBRC.
“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”.
And worse, the school isn’t applying these policy equally, he said.
“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,” Langhofer said.