Colorado

Oct 19, 2010 3:06 PM by Andy Koen

Updated: Rosaries still restricted in D-11 but student allowed to wear cross

The Colorado Springs middle school student who was afraid to wear his crucifix to school can do so now without fear of punishment. However, the district is still requiring students who chose to wear a rosary as a necklace to tuck them inside their shirts.

The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents 7th grader Cainan Gostnell, announced on their website today that School District 11 has agreed to permit him to wear his cross on a small chain outside of his clothing.

The ACLJ sent a letter to the principal of Mann Middle School on October 8 demanding that the school provide assurances that Gostnell be allowed to wear the necklace without being punished.

The firm says the attorney for the school district responded and told them that Gostnell may continue wearing his cross to convey his faith.

"This represents and important First Amendment victory for our client and one that underscores the fact that the constitutional rights of students do not end at the school house door," the statement reads.

Gostnell stopped wearing the cross after an announcement was made over the school's public address system asking students to tuck any religious jewelry inside their clothing or remove it.

A printed copy of the announcement obtained by News First 5 suggests that the rule was intended to protect catholic students from being offended by other students wearing rosaries as fashion accessories.

District 11 spokesperson Elaine Naleski has said that district views the wearing of rosaries as a necklace to be a symbol of gang activity. 

The dress code prevents students from wearing any clothing, jewelry or other accessory that could be considered symbols of gang involvement or gang activity. That rule has not changed. 

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