School bans rosary beads, claims they're gang symbols - - Columbia, South Carolina

School bans rosary beads, claims they're gang symbols

DALLAS, TX (NBC) - A Texas high school student says she was forced to remove her rosary before going to classes because the school considers it is a gang symbol.

Tabitha Ruiz, 16, said she was stopped at Seagoville High School after she went through a metal detector and told to take off her rosary.

"I was going through the metal detectors, and they looked at me and they saw the rosary and told me to take it off because it's gang-related," she said.

The Dallas Independent School District said in a statement that items that represent a gang are prohibited.

"Students are not allowed to wear logos or symbols that represent a gang," DISD said. "Dallas police identified a rosary as a gang symbol."

But Dallas police said a rosary is not considered a gang symbol.

"Rosaries are not considered gang symbols unless the person is a known gang member or he/she is wearing a red or blue rosary in conjunction with other red things like shoe laces, belt or bandana," police said in a statement.

Ruiz's mother, Taire Ferguson, said she was stunned to hear a rosary was considered a gang symbol.

"My first reaction was, 'Gang people don't have Jesus. Maybe they need Jesus,'" she said.

Ferguson said it was "unacceptable" for the school to ask her daughter to take off the rosary.

She said item is just a symbol of her daughter's Christianity.

"She's never been in trouble. She's a good kid," Ferguson said.

She said she is ready to take the case to court.

"This is ridiculous for the school district to claim that a clearly religious symbol, a cross and rosary beads, are somehow banned them because they don't approve," said Hiram Sasser of Liberty Legal.

Posted by Logan Smith

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