Tennessee high school senior suspended over saying 'bless you' to sneezing student


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Tennessee high school senior suspended over saying 'bless you' to sneezing student

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Aug 21, 2014

A West Tennessee high school senior is speaking out publicly after she received an in-school suspension on Monday because of saying "bless you" after a fellow classmate sneezed.

Kendra Turner's teacher at Dyer County High School in Dyersburg has a list of banned words listed on her chalkboard, including the phrase "bless you."

"We're not allowed to say 'bless you,' 'my bad,' 'hang out,' 'dumb,' 'stupid,' 'stuff,' and things like that," Turner, 17, explains to the State Gazette.

The unidentified teacher allegedly stopped class to ask who had said "bless you." Turner admitted to it. 

"She asked why I said it, and I told her I was being courteous, and she asked me who told me that it was courtesy?" Turner further explains to the State Gazette. "I told her my pastor and my parents taught me to say it."

Turner was told to leave the class and check in for in-school suspension, which is moderated by two supervisors. Turner was allowed to leave suspension for her next period once the class that she was kicked out of was complete.

"In this case, this was not a religious issue at all, but more of an issue the teacher felt was a distraction in her class," DCHS Assistant Principal Lynn Garner explains to the State Gazette.

Turner feels differently. She spoke about the incident at a press conference on Tuesday at her church, Dyersburg First Assembly of God.

"I want God to be able to be talked about in school," she said. "I want them to realize that God is in control and they're not. I also don't want the teacher being bashed, because that's kind of harmful and disrespectful." 

Julianne Cassidy

Julianne Cassidy

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A city girl gone country, Philadelphia-bred journalist Julianne Cassidy relocated to be a Nashville-based digital editor for Scripps Media, Inc.