Student Suspended for Saying “Bless You” After Classmate Sneezed

A photograph of the teacher's white board that lists 'bless you' and other expressions that are banned as part of class rules. (Credit: CNN)

A photograph of the teacher's white board that lists 'bless you' and other expressions that are banned as part of class rules. (Credit: CNN)

A young girl in Tennessee says she was suspended after breaking a class rule of saying “bless you” after a classmate sneezed.

When Dyer County High School senior Kendra Turner said “bless you,” she says her teacher told her that was for church.

Turner feels her teacher was taking issue for her religion.  When she stood up for herself, Turner says she was told to go to the administrator’s office and later placed in in-school suspension for the rest of that class period.

Turner’s pastor says students had just talked about how to stand up for their faith last week.

“There were several students that were talking about this particular faculty member there that was very demeaning to them in regards to their faith,” said Rev. Becky Winegardner, Turner’s youth pastor.

A student sent in a picture that shows a list of words the student claims the teacher does not allow in the classroom. “Bless you” is on the list.

Turner’s parents say the school leaders claim the outburst was a classroom distraction – that Turner shouted “bless you” across the room.

According to Turner, she was reprimanded by the teacher, who said, “We will not have Godly speaking in my class.”

The Dyer County School Superintendent hasn’t commented on the alleged incident.  WREG reported the school system said there is a strict policy in the keyboarding classroom against “outbursts,” including saying “bless you” when someone sneezes.  The policy is in place to assure students are not distracted, especially during tests.


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