Tennessee Student Suspended for Saying, “Bless You”

Tennessee Student Suspended for Saying, “Bless You”

A Dyersburg, Tennessee teenager recently received an “In School Suspension” for attempting to be polite.

Kendra Turner, a senior at Dyer County High School located about an hour and half northeast of Memphis, Tennessee, said ‘bless you’ during class on Monday when a fellow classmate sneezed. Turner explains that the phrase is among many that are banned from being spoken during class.

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

The State Gazette also reports Turner’s teacher stood up seeking to know who said the common response to a sneeze. 

"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?" added Turner. "I told her my pastor and my parents taught me to say it."

The practice of blessing someone who sneezes dates as far back to 77 AD. Following an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague, in 590 AD Pope Gregory I ordered villagers to utter the saying in hopes of fighting off the disease. 

Turner reports that she was then instructed to go to the principal’s office. It was there she received the suspension. 

On Tuesday, Turner’s church held a press conference where Turner said, "I want God to be able to be talked about in school. 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."

Publication date: August 21, 2014