A Christian high school student in Ohio was suspended last week after she posted Bible verses on lockers and walls after she saw LGBT pride flags and posters decorating the halls of her school.
Last Friday, mother Tina Helsinger posted a video to her Facebook page featuring her daughter, Gabby, explaining how she ended up being sentenced to an in-school suspension at Lebanon High School.
“So on Thursday when I got to school, I see that there were pride flags, posters around my school,” Gabby explained in the video. “And I felt the need to write down some Bible verses so I could put them around my school. And I wrote them down and I put them around my lockers, the walls.”
Helsinger explained that as she was coming back from lunch, she saw teachers taking down the Bible verses she put up.
“And the next day, I got called to the office and there is a letter that says that I have an ISS, which is an in-school suspension, and the reason why I have it is because ‘abuse of others, disrespect, rudeness’ because I put Bible verses up ‘targeting the [Gay-Straight Alliance] organization.’”
Helsinger claims that she didn’t even know what GSA was or meant.
“I seen that there was people in my school that needed help. They don’t need to be living and wondering if they should be gay, bi, lesbian, trans, anything like that,” Helsinger contended. “I know that God is the only way that they can be healed by that. That’s why I did it. I was not targeting any kind of organization or anything like that.”
“When I got sent to the office,[the principal] was talking to me and he said, ‘Why did you put these up here?’” she continued. “And I said, ‘because I wanted to spread the word of God.’ He goes,’ Well, did you have permission?’ And I said, ‘No.’”
Superintendent Todd Yohey clarified to FaithWire that the district’s Student Code of Conduct prohibits the sharing or posting of religious text or imagery on school grounds.
Yohey also stressed that GSA has the right, just like religious clubs, to advertise in the school during school hours.
However, Helsinger maintains that she didn’t know she had to get permission to post things on the walls.
“[B]ecause people do it a lot — putting Post-it notes up on people’s lockers,” Helsinger recalled. “So, I just did it. I asked [the principal] why anytime Jesus or God or anything like that gets brought up at school, it gets taken down straight away. But we can put gay and pride stuff all over the school and not have to take it down and people can talk about it. But when you talk about God or Jesus, you just get put down and you are not allowed to talk about it.”
Helsinger’s mother, Tina, was not too pleased with the school’s decision to punish her daughter and appealed the suspension.
“Posting a Bible verse is not abuse of others, disrespect/insolence/rudeness and in no way was it targeting GSA,” the mother argued. “[B]ut the school principal, Scott Butler, says ‘Gabby was targeting the GSA organization’ and therefore must report to ISS.”
Helsinger will serve her in-school suspension on Wednesday.
“Lebanon schools celebrates evil and punishes righteousness!!” Tina Helsinger wrote on Facebook. “Parents — if this was happening to your child — what would you do?”