TORONTO, ON May 7, 2012 – The Catholic Civil Rights League commented on the week-long suspension given to a student by the South Shore Regional School Board in Nova Scotia last week for wearing a “Jesus” T-shirt to school. The board had argued that the shirt, with its slogan “Life is wasted without Jesus,” offended some students by telling them their beliefs are wrong.
While the board finally lifted the suspension after it achieved national attention, the fact that it attempted to censor a religious message on an article of clothing shows the extent to which some public bodies will go to remove religious references from the public domain.
“It’s quite common for teenagers to express everything from their religious beliefs to their tastes in music through clothing,” said Joanne McGarry, League executive director. “Some schools have dress codes prohibiting any slogans on clothing for that very reason. But the issue here was not a dress code, but simply an opinion that a religious message might be offensive to some people. The suspension was an outrageous over-reaction.”
According to a report in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, the board is now encouraging students to get together and talk about how to deal maturely and tolerantly with differences of opinion and expression. Since school is a good place to learn that lesson, it’s unfortunate that the board did not provide a better example of tolerance in the first place.
– N.S. teen allowed to wear ‘Jesus’ T-shirt to school, CTV, May 4
– Update: Student returns, but dad pulls him out in protest, National Post, May 7