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    Rosary necklace banned at school as a gang symbol

    Date: 11.09.11 | by Judge Tom.

    A Nebraska school district has banned the wearing of a necklace that looks like a rosary. The photo below is an example of what has parents, religious leaders and others concerned about this new dress code policy in the Omaha school district. Sixth-grade student, 12 year-old Elizabeth Carey wore hers to school and was told to remove the necklace: that it is being worn by gang members and shows an affiliation with gang activities.

    The school principal commented that “We had information from law enforcement that there were documented instances of gang activity in the area and we had information that states that the rosary was being used as a symbol of gang affiliation.”

    In response to this assertion, the Chancellor of the Omaha Archdiocese of the Catholic Church said, “I don’t think Christians should have to forfeit what is the symbol for the love of Christ because a few people want to misuse that symbol. One ought to be able to figure out whether she’s trying to promote a gang. If she’s not, why would she be punished for her right of religious freedom and religious expression?”

    Elizabeth and her father

    See here for an interview with Elizabeth and her parents.

    Check out this story about freedom of religion and expression of such at school.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    2 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Tulsa Divorce Lawyers
      Wed, 09 Nov 2011 at 09:48

      The rosary necklace in and of itself is not a violation of the Tinker standard – it’s the rosary necklace’s affiliation with gang activity that could cause a substantial disruption to the school’s learning environment. I say good call on the part of the school faculty – tough call, but still a good call on their part.

    • Askthejudge.info
      Thu, 10 Nov 2011 at 12:41

      New blog post: Rosary necklace banned at school as a gang symbol http://t.co/7EYTwPB1

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