Just three weeks into the new school year, administrators in one Colorado school have taken rosary beads away from a high school junior – twice!
Surely, he must have been swinging them around, hitting teachers and fellow students in the face, one might mistakenly assume. On the contrary, officials decided to take this action because of fears the strand of Catholic prayer beads are symbols of the student’s gang activity.
As the student’s mother reports, this student wears the beads to help cope with the recent murder of a close family member. This apparently makes no difference to school officials who are facing mounting pressure to battle gang activity, whether real or imagined.
The school’s principal said certain gangs use rosaries as a way to identify other affiliated members. Though I don’t dispute that information, I can’t rationalize taking a genuine spiritual comforter because it had been hijacked by a few thugs somewhere.
Just as one can appreciate a stunning rainbow without being immediately identified as a homosexual, symbols used by certain groups should not be used to stigmatize everyone else for whom they represent something altogether different.
The only reason given for why either set of beads was confiscated was that the strand contained 13 beads, which authorities know is sometimes used by the Surenos to identify one another. Authorities might have known it, but the teen who had his beads taken said he did not. Further research showed only one of the two confiscated strands contained 13 beads; the other had 10.
Officials later commented on the matter, saying they gave the student the option to tuck the beads in his shirt. The student denied it, saying he would have gladly tucked the beads as a compromise.
Several of his classmates spoke out in his defense and, by all accounts, he was a good student. Using common sense, any school administrator could tell whether a student is a stealth gangster wearing his thugged-out rosary or a good kid who lost a family member to violence and clings to the beads because, as he said, “I feel safe when I have them on.”
Sadly, school administrators have many shortcomings and, in many instances, common sense is very high on the list.
B. Christopher Agee founded The Informed Conservative in 2011. Like his Facebook page for engaging, relevant conservative content daily.
Photo credit: miqul (Creative Commons)