Gabby Helsinger, a Lebanon High School student, posted a video on Facebook Friday claiming she is being punished for “targeting” the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club.
“On Thursday when I got to school, I see that there were pride flags, posters around my school,” Gabby said 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 the lockers, the walls.”
Helsinger said she was coming back from lunch when she saw teachers taking the Bible verses down.
“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 GSA organization,’” she explained in the video. “I did not know what the GSA organization was or meant.”
Helsinger says she was not targeting any organization by posting verses from the Bible around the school.
“Seeing that there [were] people in my school that needed help … ,” said Helsinger. “They don’t need to be living in the confusion of wondering if they should be gay, bi, lesbian, trans — anything like that. And I know that God is the only way that they can be healed by that, and that’s why I did it…”
In the Facebook video, Helsinger said when the principal asked her why she posted the Bible verses, she said she did it because she wanted “to spread the word of God.” Helsinger said the principal asked her if she had permission and she answered that she did not because she didn’t know she had to ask for permission given people often post notes on students’ lockers.
In a Facebook post, Helsinger’s mother said she believes her daughter is being unfairly punished for sharing her beliefs.
“Lebanon schools celebrates evil and punishes righteousness!!” she posted, adding that she appealed the punishment. “Posting a Bible verse is not abuse of others, disrespect/insolence/rudeness and in no way was it targeting GSA.”
The Lebanon City School Superintendent told Faithwire the school’s Student Code of Conduct does not prohibit the sharing or posting of religious text or imagery at school. He also said religious clubs, including the GSA, are allowed to advertise during school hours.