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Local high school student says she was punished for Bible verse posts after LGBT event

Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 @ 9:59 PM

Lebanon HS student says she was punished after posting Bible verses in school

A Lebanon High School student said she received a one-day, in-school suspension after posting Bible verses in hallways in response to LGBTQ pride flags at the school. 

Gabby Helsinger, in a Facebook video posted by her mother, said school officials said her actions targeted the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club. 

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The story attracted five protesters outside the school Wednesday afternoon -- two in support of Helsinger and three supporting the GSA. 

Helsinger said she saw the pride flags and posters last week, sparking her to put Bible verses around the lockers and walls. One day later, she said she was called to the office and informed of the in-school suspension. 

“And the reason I have it is because ‘abuse of others, disrespect, rudeness’ because I put Bible verses up ‘targeting the GSA organization,’ ” she said in the video. 

“I did not know what the GSA organization was or meant,” Helsinger said. “I seen that there was people in my school that needed help, and they don’t need to be living in the confusion of wondering if they should gay, bi, lesbian, trans – anything like that. 

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“I know that God is the only way that they can be healed by that – that’s why I did it.” 

Superintendent Todd Yohey on Wednesday denied discipline was connected to religion. 

“The student was not disciplined for posting scripture. The student was not disciplined for not asking permission,” Yohey said. “The student was disciplined for a clear violation of our code of conduct.” 

He said the code of conduct prohibits defacing authorized material posted in school. 

“And, we have a student code of conduct policy about targeting student groups,” Yohey said. 

Attempts to reach Helsinger and her mother were unsuccessful.