And, it's verboten at Seagoville High School, near Dallas, Texas.
A security guard stopped her at the door.
That rosary is gang-related, according to the security guard. And, presumably, according to the school's principal.
To be fair, there's a nugget of truth in saying that rosaries are gang symbols.
" 'Lately they've been seen wearing religious jewelry such as the rosary worn by gang members, so it is a factor,' said Sr. Cpl Kevin Janse of the Dallas Police Department.
"Although rosaries are not specifically banned by name in the district's dress code, a DISD spokesman did say, 'It's up to the principal's discretion. We chose to err on the side of caution.' "
There's another point of view, of course. " 'If we back down to everything the gangs are doing, the gangs win,' said Taire Ferguson. 'Why should we take away her choice to express her religious beliefs because gangs are doing it? It's not right.' "
(Quotes from MyFox Dallas.)
I think I understand the school officials and law enforcement on this one.
- Some gangs have, in fact, used rosaries as identifying symbols, or at least as fashion statements
- Catholics use a great number of symbols and objects as part of the way they practice their faith
- Protestants, by and large, don't
- America has been a predominantly Protestant country, and so the relatively symbol-free Protestant expression of faith is the cultural norm
- People departing from a norm stick out, by definition
Besides, the Seagoville High School principal may be trying to protect students from being mis-identified as gang members, by banning rosaries. If that's the case, I trust that the dress code also bans all colors and articles of clothing that gangs use for identification.
A policy which, potentially, would turn the school into a nudist camp.
This sort of policy, which in effect tells people to check their religious practices at the door, makes me more sympathetic toward Muslims, Sikhs, and others whose system of belief encourages them to look a bit less like Yankees than most of us do.
More, at "Student Told Rosary is Gang Symbol" (MyFox Dallas (September 16, 2008)).
Still more, at "Who Knew? Assertions, Assumptions and Assorted Weirdness from All Over"