Faithandthelaw's Blog

The law as it relates to Christians and their free exercise of religion

“Jesus, He scares the hell out of you” T-shirt gets student pulled from class in Middle School

Posted by faithandthelaw on March 21, 2011

KIRKWOOD • The school calls it a swear word. Michelle Ramirez calls it an expression of her faith.

Michelle, 12, was pulled out of her class at North Kirkwood Middle School on Wednesday and taken to the guidance office for wearing a T-shirt that read: “Jesus, He scares the hell out of you.”

Kirkwood School District spokeswoman Ginger Fletcher said Thursday that the word “hell” was viewed as profanity and against school policy. Fletcher said that when students come to school in such clothing, they are asked to turn the clothing inside out, cover it with a sweatshirt or change into different clothing.

But Ramirez and her family said Thursday that the word was meant biblically, not profanely. “To us, hell is a place,” said Christina Ramirez, Michelle’s mother.

Michelle, a member of the student council who wants to become a youth pastor, said the shirt meant that Jesus “doesn’t let evil into you.” She said she has worn the shirt many times before and it was never disruptive as the school claimed it could be on Wednesday.

“It wasn’t disruptive until they said something about it,” Michelle said.

Fletcher said that Michelle’s parents were contacted by the school but that they were not satisfied with the school’s explanation. Michelle didn’t want to change, so she spent the rest of the school day in the guidance office, Fletcher said.

Michelle said she was pulled into the office, where she changed the shirt. But then on the way back to class, after talking to her mother on the phone, she ducked into a bathroom and put it back on. She was then pulled out of class again.

Michelle said that she would not wear the shirt to school again. She and her father read a passage in the Bible Thursday that said Jesus respected the law of the land — and she would, too.

She noted that on Thursday another student wore a shirt that said: “We kick balls.” Other students wear shirts with rappers or gang insinuations. “I’m more offended by a L’il Wayne T-shirt than a shirt with ‘hell’ on it,” Christina Ramirez said.

Daniel Ramirez, Michelle’s father, called the school’s position “a double standard.”

“I like that she’s not trying to sugarcoat it,” he said. “It’s not heck or Hades.”

Copyright 2011 All rights reserved

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