IN THE GOOD OLE USA

Posted on: Sep 16, 2012 at 11:27
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LOVELAND, Colo. " A student is questioning whether his faith or his fashion is under fire at his high school in Loveland.

Thompson Valley High School officials have confiscated his rosary beads twice since school started three weeks agoAnd he says they never told him, or his family, why.

“They tell me I can’t wear them,” says Manuel Vigil, showing us an identical rosary to the one seized by his school.

The junior says he wears rosary beads to protect himself from harm.

But his school district thinks the religious necklace will harm students.

“That’s typically not what we want for a safe environment for school,” says Thompson Valley School District spokesperson Margaret Crespo.

The district says they can be affiliated with gangs, and disrupt learning.

“Are you in a gang? I ask Vigil. ‘No. I’m not in a gang,’ he says. You’re a good student?  ‘I’m a good student,’” he says.

The 16-year-old says he and his family are strong Catholics.

“I use them for prayer. I feel safe when I have them on.”

The district says it gave Vigil options before seizing the beads.

“We’ve given you two opportunities to take it off or to put it inside your shirt. That’s not something you’re interested in doing. You’re not giving us an alternative than to remove it,” Crespo says Vigil was told.

But Vigil says he only got a demand.

“If he would have given me that option, I would have put it in my shirt,” he says.

Vigil’s classmates agree putting a bad label on a good symbol is wrong.

“If it’s for religious reasons he should be allowed to wear it. We have religious tolerance in this country,” says a freshman student Jack.

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