Student punished for saying ‘bless you’

A high school student in Tennessee claims she was suspended after saying, “bless you” to another student in class.

According to Tennessee outlet WMC-TV, Dyer County high school student Kendra Turner was reprimanded after she said, “bless you” to a student who had sneezed.

“She said [the teacher] that we’re not going to have godly speaking in her class and that’s when I said we have a constitutional right,” said Turner to the outlet.

After Turner defended her actions, she said she was sent to see an administrator and given an in-school suspension. Students in the class later sent the outlet a picture of a list of words the teacher had banned from the classroom. “Bless you” was on the list, along with “dumb” and “stupid.”

The school has not responded .


11 thoughts on “Student punished for saying ‘bless you’

      • Hi Bubba

        Some people confuse freedom of speech with freedom to slander. Bolt deserved what he got and if people are looking to change the law so he can slander freely then that is a bad thing.


      • Hey Dom,

        I would have thought that slander would be covered under defamation law rather than 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. And as Bolt is a journalist who’s previous difficulties were in the printed word rather than the spoken I think you mean libel rather than slander anyway.

        But it does sound like you support restrictions on human rights (ie free speech) when it suits you and complain about said restrictions when it doesn’t.


      • Why didn’t I sense you were leading me into a trap Bubba. 🙂

        Thanks for the lesson. I did not know the difference between slander and libel.

        The act

        Offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin

        So from my understanding if you write somebody is a disgraced politician because they are corrupt that is ok,. You are free to do that. If you write or imply in your blog an ignorant statement such as it is hip to be black and a certain white Aboriginal chose their Aboriginal racial identity for the purposes of political and career clout when their father is aboriginal is not ok.

        A person in the mainstream media needs to held accountable for what they say, They should not have the freedom to lie and trample on the rights of others.


      • Hey Dom,

        As you’ve described that scenario defamation would still cover it.

        But anyway it’s ok to deny “rights” to some in order to achieve balance or in the interests of society as a whole ?


      • The judge stated that Bolt was guilty under 18C not the defamation act.

        In the end you are free to do as you wish but you are not free to choose the consequences of your actions.


      • As usual Bolt makes comments and none of my replies make it through. He is such an outstanding advocate for freedom of speech. lol


      • Hey Dom,

        Um that’s because the action was brought as a breach of s18C not as a defamation action. It’s not up to the Judge to change a plaintiff’s pleadings. However Justice Brombergs judgement makes about 20 references to defamation including that “The principles developed about imputations by the law of defamation have been adopted in at least two cases dealing with Part IIA of the RDA”

        Regardless it does sound as though your a-ok with Bolt having the uninhibited right to “preach” his views being restricted by law.


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