Sure, it gets to be a ridiculous rule the way some schools might operate, but still. Rules are rules. An 8th grader in Texas broke that rule when she wore beads to school. Jonae Devlin was told to take them off or be suspended. She chose suspension. Over jewelry? Sort of. It’s her rosary.
“I’m angry because of the way they’re treating students,” said Sherell Johnson, Devlin’s mom.
They’re treating students as equals. Yes, that’s a problem. It’s too bad there are rich kids and poor kids, parents who can spoil their children and let them have whatever is a fad, and other parents who have to keep things a little more strict and affordable. Dress codes equalize everyone. Kids just have to find some other way to make cliques and be judgmental. They can figure that out. There’s always a way…
According to the district’s student dress code, openly wearing a rosary violates school policy.
Some gang experts have associated the rosary with gang activity.
“The rosary can be a sign of gang involvement,” said Victor Gonzales, the Director of the Houston mayor’s Anti-Gang Task Force. “Schools are just worried about safety.”
This is not the first time I’ve heard of this. There was a girl in 2008 who ran into the same problem at her Texas high school. While it’s probably unlikely either girl would end up targets of whoever rivals this rosary gang while on the way to or from school, their safety is still a valid concern. I seem to recall that here in Saskatoon there were stores that stopped stocking certain colours of bandanas because gangs were using them to mark themselves. I don’t know if that’s still the case, though. I’d heard that during my Wal-mart days some years ago.
Both Devlin and her mom claimed they had no idea about the policy.
FBISD officials insist the dress code was spelled out to both parents and children during a series of seminars at the beginning of the school year. District officials said they stood by the decision to discipline Devlin.
He says/she says. Maybe Devlin skipped those sessions or simply forgot she was told. It doesn’t change the fact that the rule existed and she broke it. Ignorance of a rule doesn’t make you automatically exempt.
But Devlin doesn’t think it was fair.
“Everyone who wears a rosary is not in a gang,” she said.
What do you call a gang of Catholics? It feels like there should be a snappy punchline to that, but I don’t have one.
It’s nice that she has a rosary to remember her grandma by, but it doesn’t need to be taken to school. If it’s taken to school anyway, it still doesn’t have to be worn. According to rules, it’s not supposed to be worn. It’s not about persecuting a religion; it’s about reducing a risk, negligible though it might be. She wants some special treatment because she’s a Catholic and she can’t have it. Sorry. Rules are rules, kid. Follow the rule, or miss some school. Choosing beads over education is pretty stupid, though…