An eighth-grade student in New Mexico was ordered to stop wearing her rosary to school because the principal thought it was gang related.
Latanyia Clah told KOB-TV that she and her sister started wearing the beads to Tibbetts Middle School in Farmington after receiving them as Christmas gifts from their mom until they got in trouble for donning them on school grounds.
“She [the principal] asked me, ‘do you know what the rosary means?” and I was like, ‘yeah, it’s something I believe in,” she told KOB-TV.
Latanyia said she was routinely sent to the principal’s office over the dispute.
“They asked me if I sell drugs because I was wearing my rosary,” she said.
The girl said she was hurt by the school’s actions.
“It hurts inside, inside me, because they say things about my cross and my religion,” she said.
He mother Delphyina was also angered by the school’s stance.
“It really upsets me,” she told KOB-TV. “I don’t see why they say my kids are in a gang. That’s the thing is I don’t understand.”
Farmington Municipal Schools Assistant Superintendent Frank Stimac said they consulted a local priest and found numerous gang members used the rosary as a symbol.
“The dress code is more of whats appropriate and whats inappropriate and we’ve, I think we’ve come to the consensus that its inappropriate,” he said.
“If you like something is causing an uproar, whatever that may be, you have the right to step in and address that,” he added.
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