Teen Punished for Saying 'Bless You' in School: Report

School says Kendra Turner caused disruption

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 22, 2014 10:05 AM CDT

(Newser) – A high school senior in Tennessee says she was placed in in-school suspension because she said "bless you" after a fellow student's sneeze. Kendra Turner tells WMCTV her teacher told her that "bless you" is language for church. "She said that we're not going to have godly speaking in her class, and that's when I said we have a constitutional right," Turner says. The phrase is one of several banned in the class, according to students; they sent WMCTV a photo showing a whiteboard listing of such phrases, which also include "stupid," "my bad," and "hang out," Fox News reports.

Since the incident, some kids have been wearing T-shirts saying "bless you" in support of Turner, WMCTV notes. Her parents met with school officials, who said Turner had caused a disruption because she shouted the phrase. "This was not a religious issue at all, but more of an issue the teacher felt was a distraction in her class," the school's assistant principal tells the Dyersburg State Gazette. He says such in-school suspensions happen regularly, and that Turner was back in class for the next period. "I think this has really been blown out of proportion on social media," he adds.

A screen shot from Fox News video featuring Turner.
A screen shot from Fox News video featuring Turner.   (Fox News video)
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