Parents and members of a local church in Roswell, N.M., were visibly upset during a Roswell School Board meeting where attendees discussed the recent suspensions over Krispy Kreme donuts with Bible verses.
More than 200 people attended the meeting on Tuesday to voice disapproval for how the school was treating its Christian students, according to NBC’s local affiliate KOB TV station.
“You’re supposed to represent the people,” said Pastor Troy Smothermon of the Church on the Move in Roswell, according to KOB. “But before you got in this lawsuit, I would have hoped you would have at least taken the time to find out what was going on in your school system that you represent.”
Prior to the donut incident, the school was already sued by the families of students for violating their freedom of speech. Christian students that are part of an area-wide religious youth group called Relentless Roswell, which is a ministry of the Church on the Move, had in January distributed fetus dolls with a Bible verse and contact information for a local pregnancy resource center attached.
Goddard High’s assistant principal had announced over the public address system that the students are not to distribute anything without approval or risk disciplinary actions. Some students were held in detention because of the fetus doll incident.
A female student said she was planning to commit suicide on the day she received the fetus doll because of a past decision to have an abortion, according to Liberty Counsel, which filed the lawsuit against the school on behalf of the families and students. But the scripture on the doll said, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made,” and helped save the student's life, both physically and spiritually.
In addition to the fetus dolls, Relentless Roswell members have also passed out decorated rocks and candy canes to fellow students, chicken salad lunches to teachers, hot cocoa to students and faculty, and helped janitors with trash after lunch without incident.
The most recent clash between the Christian students and school officials occurred Sept. 3 after students left boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts with Bible verses in teachers’ lounges. At least four students were suspended.
Sheila Bejarano, whose 16-year-old son was among those suspended, asked, “My son was showing kindness … and he was punished? What did my child do that was so wrong?” as reported by The Associated Press.
Students had to make a nearly six-hour round trip to get the donuts because the closest Krispy Kreme store was in Texas.
“Some teachers are worried about their students giving them bullets, and this school suspends students over a Bible verse!” said Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “It is outrageous that the Roswell school officials are mean to those students solely because they are hostile to their Christian faith.”
Officials of the Roswell Independent School District declined to comment, saying they cannot discuss details because of the pending litigation.