A high school student in Tennessee says she served an in-school suspension after she said "bless you" when a classmate sneezed, according to news reports.
Kendra Turner, 17, a senior at Dyer County High School, says she was standing up for her religious beliefs when she broke the classroom's no-speaking rule by saying "bless you".
Turner said on a friend's she was acting on authority of her faith and her church pastor's interpretation of the Constitution when she offered what she viewed as a "courtesy."
The teacher of the class asked Turner why she spoke out, and Turner said, "Because it's a courtesy." More from OpposingViews.com:
When the teacher continued pushing the matter and asked who exactly considers it a courtesy, Turner reportedly shot back, "My pastor." Turner posted about the incident on Facebook, explaining that her teacher "yelled at me and said, 'we do not do Godly speaking in my class!' That is when I stood up and said, 'My pastor said I have a constitutional right - 1st amendment freedom of speech.'" In response, the teacher allegedly said, "Not in my class you don't."
The teacher sent Turner to see a school administrator and Turner says she spent the rest of the period at in-school suspension, according to reports. UPI.com reports Turner's classmates cheered her actions, to the point that assistant principal Lynn Garner had to be called in to control them.
Garner says that the issue had nothing to do with the religious persecution claimed by Turner. Turner's family met with school leaders Tuesday. They say the teacher claimed Turner was being disruptive and aggressive and shouted "bless you" from across the room.
Some classmates showed support by wearing hand made bless you shirts, according to local media reports.
Turner said she doesn't want trouble for her teacher but says she'll stand up for her faith.
"It's alright to defend God and it's our constitutional right because we have a freedom of religion and freedom of speech," said Turner.
Atlanta couple Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk named their daughter “ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah” but have been unable to get a birth certificate for her. The child will be two next month but doesn’t have a legal name.
The reason? It appears that the Georgia Department of Public Health believes that young ZalyKha’s last name of “Allah” doesn’t fit the state’s naming conventions. The state says that the child’s name should either be “Handy,” “Walk,” or some combination instead of “Allah.” The thing here is that the couple has a child name Masterful Allah........, just let that sink in for a minute, with a birth certificate.
The situation has resulted in the couple being unable to get a birth certificate. This means things such as getting insurance and assistance will be a hassle if not impossible.
Enter the ACLU’s Georgia branch. Executive Director Andrea Young says that the Department of Health is overreaching in its refusal to give the couple a birth certificate for ZalyKha. Handy and Walk reached out to the ACLU to help them exercise their rights in this case.
“We don’t want to go through that process again,” Handy says. She is six months along with their third child.
So maybe they should try naming their next child something that might help them get a job like like, Sarah, Michael, or Jennifer....
The lawsuit lists the department’s commissioner, Brenda Fitzgerald, and the state registrar and director of vital records Donna L. Moore. The department’s general counsel Sidney Barrett says that the couple could put in a “valid” birth certificate and change the name via a superior court petition.
This means more time and money put into a legal exercise that could be avoided if the couple were allowed to name their daughter as they pleased in the first place.
Bilal Walk says that the couple has a process they go into when naming their children. “It is nothing that we want to go into detail about because it is not important,” he says. “What is important is the language of the statute and our rights as parents.”
Elizabeth Handy says they are still thinking of a name for their third child. “We are still in the process of coming up with a name, and we don’t even know if it will be a girl or a boy,” she says. “But the child will definitely have a noble title. Something to live up to.”
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