Dad pulls Jesus shirt teen from school

May 7, 2012 at 5:04 PM
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CHESTER BASIN, Nova Scotia, May 7 (UPI) -- A Canadian 12th-grader suspended for wearing a "Life Is Wasted Without Jesus" T-shirt was pulled from school by his father over a religious tolerance forum.

William Swinimer, a student at Forest Heights Community School in Chester Basin, Novas Scotia, was initially suspended for five days for refusing to stop coming to school wearing the T-shirt. He was allowed to return -- T-shirt included -- under a South Shore Regional School Board ruling Friday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday.

However, his father, John Swinimer, said he pulled his son out of the school when he learned all students were scheduled to attend a religious tolerance session Monday to learn how to respectfully express their beliefs.

"He will not attend this school unless they are having reading, writing and arithmetic -- good old-fashioned academics," John Swinimer said. "When they're having forums, when they're having other extracurricular activity, he will not attend that school."

Students at the school said the younger Swinimer would often make students feel uncomfortable by preaching his beliefs.

"It started with him preaching his religion to kids and then telling them to go to hell. A lot of kids don't want to deal with this anymore," said Katelyn Hiltz, the student council vice president.

The students said the T-shirt was the last straw that led to their complaints, but it was not how the issue started.

"He's told kids they'll burn in hell if they don't confess themselves to Jesus," student Riley Gibb-Smith said.

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