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8th Grader Suspended For Wearing Rosary Beads

8th Grader Suspended For Wearing Rosary Beads

In another example of a school’s zero tolerance policy gone awry, an 8th grade student at Hodges Bend Middle School in Houston, Texas, has been suspended for refusing to take off her rosary beads.

Rosary In Memory Of Her Grandmother

According to the student, Jonae Devlin, she wears the beads as a tribute to her late grandmother, a devout Catholic. Devlin told local TV station khou.com, “It reminds me of all the love she had for me. It makes me feel like she’s with me all the time.”

The student dress code prohibits openly wearing a rosary because it can be interpreted as a sign of gang involvement. Jonae and her mother, Sherell Johnson said they did not know of the policy, but school officials insist they held a series of seminars about the dress code at the beginning of the school year, and are standing by their decision.

Not Everyone Wearing A Rosary Is A Gang Member

And, as Ms. Devlin pointed out, “Everyone who wears a rosary is not in a gang.”

But there’s something about those rosary beads that school officials just don’t like. Last September I wrote here about the case of 13-year-old Raymond Hosier, sent home from his middle school in Schenectady, New York, for the same offense.

In his case, mom took the issue to court, and a federal judge ordered the school to reinstate the boy immediately.

School Adminstrators Don’t Like Rosary Beads

There was also a 14-year-old boy in Haverstraw, New York, who was suspended for a day for the same offence last February, and a Dallas, Texas, high school student who was asked to remove rosary beads in September, 2008.

Is this a good way to treat students?

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170 comments

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9:55AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

since when do rosary beads become gang related, they're prayer beads, period

1:01AM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

The illustration above does not show a rosary.

1:00AM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

Rosary beads are NOT jewellery. They for praying with, not for wearing round the neck.

5:22PM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

how Un American. sounds like a dictator country.........

11:59AM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

so much for religious freedom

11:50AM PDT on Apr 6, 2011

Ann P: Your educational system sounds akin to slicing open their heads and cramming all the academic info inside. Academics are only part of children's education. Other things they learn in school are socialization, human interaction, teamwork, compatibility, reasoning and getting along with others. If you approve of nurturing their individuality then why would you punish them for not mindlessly conforming to standards they don't understand. Why would you teach them to question their own emotions and the right to express what they believe? You don't expand their base of knowledge by condemning their personal emotions and decisions which certainly doesn't teach them reasoning and creativity. All of the other "distracftion nonsense" is preparing them to deal with real life situations and problems which will be encountered and which is more important than strictly academic development. A person with the highest developed intellect cannot succeed without common sense and human emotions, i.e., the people who mindlessly interpret "zero tolerance" with no extenuating circumstances considered.

2:15AM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

OH MY GOODNESS ME GRRRRRRRRR POOR CHILD

6:56PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Lets all put on beads and go pay them a visit. What do you say GANG !!! :)

7:48AM PST on Feb 23, 2011

This is not a separation of state and church issue. Only if the school officials are promoting religion, would that apply. And I am a strong defender of the First Amendment. A personal decision by a student, whether wearing the rosary beads in memory of her grandmother, or because she is a Catholic who wants to, is just a person decision.

FIRST time I've ever heard that a rosary cross is a gang symbol. I've seen on t.v., gang members with crosses, and always thought it strange that a Catholic or christian would wear a cross, symbolizing Jesus, when they are engaged in heinous behavior, opposite to Jesus' teachings.

The school was wrong. And I'm sure that they were scared -- fear of condemnation, fear of lawsutis. Too many regulations, infringing on personal rights, have made our society a very drab, uninteresting place.

2:14PM PST on Jan 25, 2011

why dosent this fall under church and state? Hummm? However I am not for the religous indoctrination of children to the Policies of hatred set forth by religions that require belivers to convert non belivers. Still a child shoule be able to openly profess their religion.

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