On August 24, a 10-year-old girl was sent home on her first day back to school in Gainesville, Florida, for wearing a shirt with the words 'Islam Is Of The Devil' printed on it. Who was this girl? She was Faith Sapp, daughter of Wayne Sapp, pastor of the controversial church, the DoveWorldOutreachCenter, in northwest Gainesville. This church drew protests last month when it displayed a series of hand-painted signs that read "Islam is of the devil."
Next day, more children from the DoveWorldOutreachCenter arrived at area public schools with shirts bearing the anti-Islam message. One Gainesville High student, Emily Sapp, 15, another daughter of Wayne Sapps, and two Eastside High students were sent home and a student at Westwood Middle had to change clothes because of the shirt.
On their front, the T-shirts had a verse from the Gospel of John: "Jesus answered I am the way and the truth and the life; no one goes to the Father except through me," and this statement, "I stand in trust with DoveOutreachCenter." The message "Islam is of the Devil" is on the back of the shirt.
Is this freedom of speech? Certainly it is not. It is the abuse of the freedom of expression as guaranteed by our constitution.
According to School district staff attorney Tom Wittmer, the school district allows students to express their religious beliefs but also must protect other students, such as members of the Muslim faith, from discrimination based on their religious beliefs since there has to be equal treatment of different faiths.