Last week, The Blaze told you about William Swinimer, a 12-grade student from Nova Scotia, Canada, who was suspended after wearing a t-shirt that reads, “Life is wasted without Jesus.” Following the five-day suspension from Forest Height Community School last week for continuing to wear the article of clothing after being told by staffers not to, the teenager was back at school today -- but only briefly.
This time, rather than being given the boot by administrators, William's father, John, pulled him out of classes. While the teen was supposed to attend a special school-sponsored session for students that centered upon how to express beliefs in a way that is respectful to all, his father said that the school should be teaching only basic courses that do not involve religion.
"He will not attend this school unless they are having reading, writing and arithmetic -- good old-fashioned academics," Swininer said, as he held a copy of the New Testament Bible. "When they're having forums, when they're having other extra-curricular activity, he will not attend that school."
The Toronto Sun has more, including quotes that seem to indicate that the student will be finishing his final year of high school at a different educational facility:
...[William] arrived on campus early Monday morning with his father, who abruptly pulled him out of the school, saying he doesn't want anything to do with the talks.
"The taxpayer is paying for him to learn his academics as well as the other students and I am not standing for any of this stuff."
The Halifax Chronicle-Herald reports John Swinimer stormed across the parking lot, announced he was pulling his son out of school, waved a copy of the New Testament at reporters and refused to answer questions. [...]
When asked by reporters whether Swinimer will come back to the school when the talks are over, John said: "I'm making a statement here, I'm not answering questions." [...]
"William will no longer be attending this school. He will be furthering his education outside this school," Varrick Day told QMI Agency.
While the boy's pastor, Varrick Day, claims that he is the victim of bullying at the hands of school officials, other students allege that the drama started before William began wearing the t-shirt. According to CBC, some said that the student was consistently preaching and making them feel uncomfortable and that the shirt was the final straw.
"He's told kids they'll burn in hell if they don't confess themselves to Jesus," claims Riley Gibb-Smith, a student at the school (other students apparently echoed this same sentiment).
These latest events came after the South Shore Regional School Board decided to allow the teen to wear the shirt. But, in knowing that he would be coming to school wearing the garment today (and he did, indeed, wear it), they sent guidance counselors to the school to discuss religious tolerance in voluntary sessions with students.
"Our focus starting today is to work with students to use this as a learning experience," explained School board superintendent Nancy Pinch-Worthylake. "What we're focusing on is how we ensure that freedom to express religious beliefs continues, which we have always had and always supported, and talk about how we deal with it when there is not agreement around what that should look like in school."
Pinch-Worthylake also said that she was disappointed that William was not a part of the talks that occurred at the school today.
(H/T: CBC News)