During the height of the Covid pandemic, Lydia Booth, a third-grader in Mississippi, wore her favorite mask to school every day. On the mask, which was mandated by the way, wrote the quote “Jesus Loves Me.”
Lydia expressed sadness and confusion one day when her school district decided to prohibit her from wearing the face mask. Her mother Jennifer also shared her confusion upon hearing the news from Lydia brought back from school that day.
She told Fox News Digital “I was looking around, and all these kids had words all over their masks.”
The Booth family’s lawsuit, filed by Alliance Defending Freedom, resulted in the rescission of the school district’s policy that banned face masks with “political” or “religious” messages. The cause of the lawsuit was Lydia’s use of a “Jesus Loves Me” mask in her Simpson County school during the COVID-19 pandemic in October 2020.
Despite having worn the mask previously without issue, she was told to remove it at school. The lawsuit filed by her family, through Alliance Defending Freedom highlighted that Lydia’s mask caused no disruptions and that other students wore masks with words without any objections. The lawsuit also noted that Lydia was later asked to remove the mask before entering the cafeteria.
ADF Legal Counsel Michael Ross told Fox News Digital “The First Amendment prohibits schools from singling out students for their speech, especially religious speech,” Ross continued.”It’s very simple: What the school was doing is a flat violation of the First Amendment.”
Lydia said “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.”
The Booth family and the district reached a settlement, leading to the abandonment of the ban on religious and political speech on masks, as reported by Alliance Defending Freedom. Although face masks are no longer mandatory, Lydia and her mother expressed contentment over their efforts to change the school’s policy.
Lydia’s mother, Jennifer added “It went from talking to the principal and it being about the dress code, then all the way up to the superintendent, they modified the policy to a ban on religious speech.”
The school no longer mandates face masks for students, but Lydia and her mother are proud of their efforts to alter the policy. Lydia sees the change as a way to continue sharing her belief in God with her peers and the option to wear her mask if she chooses.
“It’s about the little things,” Jennifer added. “Day to day, you don’t notice a change, but five years from now, you’re going to look back to this day and see how drastically everything has changed…If we have a belief, we have a right to share it.”