October 5th, 2011
01:53 PM ET

School tells girl wearing rosary violates dress code

An Omaha, Nebraska, sixth-grader was told she could not wear a necklace with a cross to school because the rosary has become an identifying symbol for gangs, CNN affiliate KETV reported.

Elizabeth Carey told KETV that wearing a rosary is an expression of her faith, but Fremont Public Schools says it is a violation of its dress code.

"I'm wearing a cross necklace, a cross T-shirt and a cross bracelet. I'm thinking of how Jesus died on the cross and how he gave up all his sins for us," Elizabeth told KETV.

Schools Superintendent Steve Sexton says the issue is about safety, not religion.

"We had information from law enforcement that there were documented instances of gang activity in the area, and we had information that states that the rosary was being used as a symbol of gang affiliation," Sexton told KETV.

"There are those who want to make this an issue about religion when it's about a singular goal - to create a safe environment for our students,” he said.

Omaha’s Catholic Archdiocese is disappointed with the school's decision.

"I don't think Christians should have to forfeit what is the symbol for the love of Christ because a few people want to misuse that symbol," Archdiocese Chancellor Rev. Joseph Taphorn told KETV.

The American Civil Liberties Union also has gotten involved.

"We understand the serious concerns about gangs in schools, but Fremont Public Schools should demonstrate there is a concrete gang connection before shutting down a student's free speech and religious rights,” Amy Miller, the legal director for the ACLU in Nebraska, told KETV,

"If the ACLU has another view, we will gladly listen to it, but the fact is one year ago we were alerted to the fact that wearing the rosary as jewelry had a gang affiliation,” Sexton said. “We took the position that we did after careful discussion with our attorneys."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Nebraska • United States

soundoff (1,104 Responses)
  1. Saved by Jesus

    Shutup you no life noobs.

    October 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Carl

      The church as victim is so tired. These people have actively stomped on the civil and human rights of gay Americans for generations and would gladly (without reservation) withhold from them all of the things that give meaning to life and make life worth living. I have no pity for any Christians who talk the talk but fail to walk the walk.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Thad

      The whole crucifixion story is kinda bizarre anyway. If Jesus had to die for our sins, then the Romans did their job.

      October 6, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • pirate

      A whole religion based on a zombie dude.. great! LMAO

      October 6, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  2. Mark

    Pray it dont wear it

    October 6, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Davin

      But it's the new bling baby!

      October 6, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  3. rATL

    Poor li'l thing. She's totally brainwashed.

    October 6, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Kimmy

      Can a 6th grader really be that into religion? No one should be allowed into the church until they are 18 and able to make up their own minds. We prefer an early indoctrination so that the 18 year olds won't change their minds and choose another religion or no religion. I would never allow a child to enter a church.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • ThinkForYourself


      The earlier you hook 'em, the more likely they are to stay. Obviously a seven year old isn't going to grasp the concept of transubstantiation. They're going to think it's cool they're allowed to drink wine in Church. But if you can get them use to drinking the wine each week from the time they're in second grade, they're probably not going to think twice about it by the time they're 18.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Sarah

      Her parents wanted her to carry a crucifix over her shoulder and walk to school but the 400 lbs. of in your face paraphernalia was just too heavy for their 6th grader.

      October 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  4. hshdghegsefg

    They're making it sound like they don't trust her... She's a sixth grader!

    October 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Amy

      She probably has a shiv and some metal knuckles in her pocket.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  5. Vivan Mohoney

    Whoa, wait; is the ACLU getting involved on the side of the Christian girl? Wow!

    October 6, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  6. Ha!!

    I must be in a gang then.......

    October 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Amy

      Religion is a gang and they demand a 10% shakedown from your bottom line.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  7. Sheila

    Why do atheists feel so doggone compelled to make fun of others? It is about one girl who wears a symbol of her own faith. Doesn't affect atheists in the least. Let them wear the symbol of their own faith – a big human on a chain, the symbol of what they believe to be the greatest thing in the universe.

    October 6, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Peter

      Why do Christians feel so compelled to flash their faith signs everywhere they go? When will they realize no one cares what they believe? Christians are the first ones to fear burkas and head scarves, so why should they get preferential treatment? Why can't religion just be something people keep to themselves instead of making the world know? Put that Christian girl in the middle of the gang fights to spread "the love of Jesus Christ" and see how well it works. It's easy to go to the middle of no where and con some starving Africans into believing in the myth when they have nothing else in life to look forward to, but in the real world, religion is worthless. Before you do, don't call me an atheist because they're just as bad.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • KindaSorta

      Peter for the same reason you cannot keep your opinions to yourself.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Spencer

      Sorry but I agree with Peter. And it wasn't his opinion that brought him to respond. If your going to bash on a group of people, especially about their beliefes, expect them to stand up for themselves.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Jezebel

      Churches of all types pick on millions of gay people around the entire world on a daily basis. They set the tone for governments to pass laws against gay people and for thugs to beat them dead. How is it possible for the church to scream victim? They are the bully on the playground yet cry like a baby when someone holds a mirror to their nosy noses.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Vicki

      Read the story again!!! Atheists did not take away her crutch. School administrators did.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • ski2exs

      Actually Sheila, it comes from years of pent up agression and an anger that they don't have an tightnit organized group of their own. . . . Well, that, and a complete lack of education in quantum physics and an even further misguided belief that somehow already complex atomic structures were already present by FM (Freakin' Magic) to even give them a mysterious primordial soup that supposidly spawned life from nothingness.

      Now, let's see how good of a troll I am. . . 🙂 🙂 🙂

      October 6, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • pirate

      Well why don't we start teaching our children that two plus two is seven? Religion is fiction, yet innocent children are taught it as if it were fact, belief on faith alone? Darn sloppy way to run a universe!

      October 6, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  8. Sheila

    Is the necklace a cross necklace or a rosary???? Any good Catholic knows that a rosary is NOT jewelry, and you are NOT to hang it around your neck like a necklace. Seriously... either the article headline is wrong, or the entire Catholic diocese missed a catechism lesson...

    October 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • HellBent

      Tons of people have posted on here saying that wearing a rosary as jewelry is wrong. But I've looked through the catechism and can't find anywhere that it states this is the case. Can anyone here actually back up their claims?

      October 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Spencer

      LOL. Thats because religious fanatics will belive anything their church tells them. Remember all those people that were talked into committing suicide? Nothing against having faith, but you have to make your own decsions.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • KindaSorta

      I'm glad you said that because, I thought that was what my Mother told me. I

      October 6, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • KindaSorta

      I was taught by Mother years ago that wearing a rosary would imply that you were worshiping an idol. The crucifix and rosary are tools used in the Catholic religion and are not to be worshipped.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Mark

      @Kindasorta. No Catholic worships a rosary. It is a disipline, & im sure you would be suprised, its not required to be a catholic.. It consists of the Our Father and Hail Marys, and guess what protestants, Its scripture!
      Oh My Jesus forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven especially those in most need of they mercy. I will say one tonight for you too.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  9. Spencer

    What isn't a gang symbol these days. Pretty soon children will only be able to wear a white t-shirt and blue jeans. Untill a gang uses that as their symbol. What do they want? Children to come to school naked?

    October 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  10. Howie

    All religious symbols should be banned in public anyway.

    October 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Howie idiot

      yes you are right Howie....since we live in a democratic society, let's prevent people from practising their own religion....you my friend, are thiking like a worthless dictator

      October 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Tracy

      We Americans succeeded in getting the 10 commandments out of the court room. But did you see the big crucifix behind the judge in the Amanda Fox case in Italy? That thing was almost life-size. The Italians were successful in getting them out of the public schools, but they are still in the courtrooms.

      October 6, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  11. Lola

    uuhhh...you aren't supposed to wear a rosary anyways...

    It's a prayer chain, not a freaking necklace.

    Oh and, I love how bullying in schools is a-ok, but we're going to take a zero tolerance policy against religious symbols.
    Nice one.

    October 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • ski2exs

      Agree completely with everything said here

      October 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Peter

      Bullying is inevitable and will never be eradicated, but to say schools fully accept it is extremely ignorant. If all you Christians would actually act like Christians instead of wearing the label on your sleeve, then kids would probably be more kind, but since they are raised by adults who act like children (i.e. throw tantrums about stupid crap like religion) they never learn how to be mature.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  12. James

    I'm pretty sure the God's "second commandment" was not to carve symbols of things in worship, so... christians probably shouldn't wear crosses.

    October 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i would think that if any religious group should be wearing the cross it would be the jews! take responiblity thru a fashion statement! 🙂

      October 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • ski2exs

      I'm pretty sure he made clear that people weren't to worship a symbol or 'graven image' emphisis being on worshiping it.

      October 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Peter

      Kind of renders the cross hypocritical all together doesn't it?

      October 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  13. ski2exs

    Seriously, something like this is about as dumb ripping the emblem off a car when it doesn't start for you, and actually believing it will fix the problem. Instead of ENFORCING things on law abiding citizens who AREN'T breaking laws. . .How about we do something really radical for a change and ENFORCE the laws we already have on gangs and actually do something to bring them down?

    October 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • ski2exs

      Sorry. . . "as dumb AS ripping the . . . . "

      October 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  14. Chuck

    Mercedes and Escalades are also gang symbols. Should we ban them too?

    October 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Chuck 2

      If you are wearing a hood ornament around your neck, I would suggest that you just go back home.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  15. burn baby burn!

    lol, may she burn in hell!

    October 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm |

    stupid people break the rules and think if its for religion it should be ok... morons are in good supply here in the U.S. , even most U.S. citizens consider themselves americans and when confronted by the fact that they are not, they get very upset and defensive...like a child!

    October 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • grk006

      ...What are you talking about?

      October 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm |

      stupid people break the rules and think if its for religion it should be ok! everything after this is just me talking, but its still true!

      October 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  17. Pat

    I agree, the Catholics are one of the worst gangs out there.

    October 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Jesse

      The last I heard, the Irish government was planning an indictment against the Vatican for continued cover-ups of pedophilia. The Vatican will protect their church above all else. They have paid out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits. Now the criminal indictments are coming. Way to go Ireland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      October 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  18. maxine howard

    Not surprised. A lot of the anti-christian cynicism comes from a lot of educators in America. I remember what some of my professors had to say about it when I was in college.

    October 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Edith

      Did they tell you to think for yourself Maxine? Was that the evil message you got?

      October 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  19. notborncynical

    What a world...

    October 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  20. Reality

    Dear Elizabeth,

    A prayer you need to contemplate :

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    October 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Oy..what would we do without the copy/pastes

      October 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Nah

      uncouth: "Oy..what would we do without the copy/pastes"

      And the unsubstantiated and conclusory "whose existence cannot be proven".

      If the original poster had any knowledge of history or philosophy, they probably wouldn't say something so absurd.

      October 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Ron

      @"Reality"- One day your hateful banter will replace religion...we should be lucky enough to follow you around for a day. Please give us a look into your day to day life? I'm sure its uplifting, in between your reading and responding to blogs with enough hate for 10 people...oh and with out a doubt, watching Family Guy.

      October 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection/Easter Con/Disease: (obviously there is a major outbreak of said disease)

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.