Banning the Rosary in Colorado Schools

Patricia Hawke

At Mann Middle School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, they have banned students from wearing the rosary. This has become very controversial in that people believe that religious freedom is our right due to the first amendment of the constitution. If they are allowing students to wear the Cross and Star of David, why ban the wearing of the rosary?
 
Some Catholics view wearing the rosary to be disrespectful because of people associating it with a fashion accessory. This still isn\'t reason to ban the religious symbol. Freedom of religion. Its our basic right to express our faith as we wish in public institutions. If other religions are able to express their faith, why can\'t the catholics wear the rosary is that is their wish?
 
The school has brought up two different reasons for banning this religious symbol. The first is that it is becoming affiliated with gang members, as they are starting to wear it as a symbol of unity. As this reason is more practical for wanting to ban a symbol from school, does the school have the right to punish others, who are not gang members, from wanting to wear something that reflects their religion? What about other gangs, such as the Crips and Bloods? Do schools need to ban wearing red or blue colors?
 
The second reason the school brought up to the parents, which confused everyone was that they were banning the Rosary because of the Catholics were finding wearing the beads disrespectful to the religion. The media was then wondering why the school didn\'t have their reasoning straight for banning the Rosary. Was it because it was offending devout Catholics who believed it to be offensive to the religion to wear it around the neck? Or was it because gang members had taken the religious symbol and made it their symbol for unity? Either way the religious object should not be banned.
 
If the school were to get sued over this decision to ban the Rosary, it would not be an easy battle. The school has already told the media it was because of gangs, but then sent home a letter to parents telling children it would be against dress code to wear the Rosary due to Catholics feeling it was disrespectful. Two different stories. The gang affiliation might have held up in court, but the fact that they sent out a letter stating a different reason, a reason that goes against the first amendment, they would not get very far.

If a student has the urge to express their religion by wearing the Rosary outside of their shirt, they should not be violating the dress code policy because they aren\'t hiding their faith like the school told them to.