Third grader Lydia Booth made national headlines when her school told her she couldn’t wear her favorite “Jesus Loves You” mask during the pandemic.
Last week, the Simpson County School District in Jackson, Mississippi reached a settlement allowing Lydia to wear the mask now and will pay $45,000, according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
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“I chose [the mask] because it had my favorite words on it, ‘Jesus Loves Me,’ and it made me feel safe when I went to school,” Lydia, who was 9 years old at the time, told Fox News.
Lydia was forced to remove her mask when she went to the school cafeteria on Oct. 13, 2020 and then two days later the district implemented a policy prohibiting “political” or “religious” speech, which ADF said was a blatant constitutional violation.
“Public schools have no business discriminating against a 9-year old for her religious expression,” said ADF Legal Counsel Michael Ross.
According to the lawsuit, Lydia’s mask caused no “disruptions” and she had worn it several times before she was told to remove it with no issues.
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“Other students within the school district have freely worn masks with the logos of local sports teams or even the words ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Lydia deserves and will now have an equal opportunity to peacefully express her beliefs,” Ross added.
Before filing the lawsuit, Lydia’s mom, Jennifer Booth, went back and forth with school officials pointing out that they violated their own policies in the school handbook before they made a policy change.
WATCH THE BOOTH’S INTERVIEW WITH FOX NEWS:
Lydia said the change in policy means she can still share her belief in God with her classmates and could wear the mask if she wanted to.
“If we have a belief, we have a right to share it,” she said.
Caleb Parke is the SMG managing editor. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and connect with him at calebparke.com.