8-Year-Old Boy Told His Grandma's Rosary Beads Are a School Dress Code Violation

rosary beadsIf you've ever had a kid sent home for wearing the wrong thing, you know that school dress codes are no joke -- but that doesn't mean they always make sense. Case in point: A California third-grader was recently banned from wearing a rosary around his neck for a truly bizarre reason.


Estevan A. Campos, an 8-year-old at Belleview Elementary in Central California, received the set of rosary beads as a gift from his grandmother, and said wearing them made him "feel safe." But according to his dad, on Tuesday the principal pulled Estevan aside and told him that he wasn't allowed to display the rosary on campus because it's "gang-affiliated." Porterville Unified School District Superintendent John Snavely, meanwhile, "declined to comment" on what was actually said to the boy, explaining that a Catholic priest asked the district to ban the practice of wearing rosary beads as jewelry (or to make sure that they're hidden under clothes).

Hmmm. I'm not religious now, but I was raised Catholic (really Catholic) and definitely wore rosary beads around my neck to school on many an occasion (and not in a cool Madonna way, either, even though it was the '80s). Granted, I went to Catholic school, but still. And while even back then there were two schools of thought on whether or not rosary beads worn for "protection" were too jewelry-like, potentially blurring the line between secular and spiritual, no one ever told me to take my rosary beads off or hide them. Because, hello?? At the end of the day, a little kid wearing rosary beads is really NOT a cause for concern.

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Which brings me to the "gang-affiliated" thing. I'm sure there are gang members out there who wear rosary beads, but saying they're across the board gang-affiliated is sort of a slap in the face to the kajillions of Catholics who use the beads to pray every day (like Estevan's grandma, no doubt). If this happened to one of my kids (I would never let my mom give them rosary beads to wear to school because I'm still scarred from my childhood, but you know what I mean), I would be furious. Because what this whole thing really boils down to is a lack of common sense. Estevan is 8 years old. He is not in a gang. He's not trying to strangle other kids with his rosary beads; he is wearing a gift from his grandma that "makes him feel safe." How exactly is this a problem?

Common sense dress codes: Can we make this happen, parents and teachers? Anyway, the person I feel really bad for here is Estevan's grandma. Who, I can guarantee, is saying the rosary right now.


Image via GraphicArtis/Corbis

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