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. Leon from Alaska

    a six grade girl wearing a cross is a safety concern "Really, Please"...we are mandated to except immigration, integration and acceptance , we are mandated to allow Mosques to be constructed and open public expressions by gays and such, but no a girl wearing a cross is bad, what a crock this Country has become, we should change the name because it sure isn't free and it definitely is not United.

    October 6, 2011 at 2:23 am |
  2. Scared

    The rosary has been "an identifying symbol for gangs" for hundreds of years: the catholic church. This group of thugs has caused more war, murder, abuse, and suffering than any other group in history. It is about time the schools take the initiative to educate our childred about just how evil gangs like this really are.

    October 6, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  3. larry3

    It upsets the Muslims, especially those in the White House.

    October 6, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • judy

      When they allow bhurkas, bindi's and nose-rings, then they can allow rosaries.

      October 6, 2011 at 1:57 am |
  4. Antasia

    I thought this was to be a discussion of if the young girl has a right to wear a cross. Instead it is religous bashing to the extreme! Must be some young kids trying to be funny, well I do not find it so. Everyone has a right to believe what they want to atheist or otherwise but to bash others about their beliefs is wrong. Come to my house you haters and we will talk capish?

    October 6, 2011 at 1:40 am |

    the rosary is eurotrash

    created around 1350 ad by the roman catholic church

    good riddance to it

    October 6, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  6. Jimtanker

    Why would someone want to wear a medieval torture device around their neck anyways?

    October 6, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      My guess is think about how I believe that the Nazis used the pink triangle to identify Gay and Lesbians in German society. Now the symbol of a pink triangle is one of the most recognizable symbols of their community.

      October 6, 2011 at 5:18 am |
    • Jimtanker

      There is that, and them having "God is with us" on their belt buckles.

      October 6, 2011 at 6:41 am |
  7. Griff in Fairbanks

    I find it interesting that gang members get worked up over the perception that someone is "dissing" them yet apparently have no qualms about disrespecting someone else by co-opting a symbol of those people's spiritual beliefs

    October 6, 2011 at 12:38 am |

      thats what religion is anyway

      stealing other religions ideas

      christianity stole from judaism and greek mythology

      muslims stole from christianity

      so on blah blah

      who cares what religious trash gang members steal

      all religion is trash

      October 6, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  8. Uncouth Swain

    And We send down of the Qur'an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss.

    Sahih International
    And [for] every person We have imposed his fate upon his neck, and We will produce for him on the Day of Resurrection a record which he will encounter spread open.17:14

    [It will be said], "Read your record. Sufficient is yourself against you this Day as accountant."17:15

    Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.17:16

    And when We intend to destroy a city, We command its affluent but they defiantly disobey therein; so the word comes into effect upon it, and We destroy it with [complete] destruction.17:17

    And how many have We destroyed from the generations after Noah. And sufficient is your Lord, concerning the sins of His servants, as Acquainted and Seeing.17:18

    Whoever should desire the immediate – We hasten for him from it what We will to whom We intend. Then We have made for him Hell, which he will [enter to] burn, censured and banished.17:19

    But whoever desires the Hereafter and exerts the effort due to it while he is a believer – it is those whose effort is ever appreciated [by Allah ].17:20

    To each [category] We extend – to these and to those – from the gift of your Lord. And never has the gift of your Lord been restricted.17:21

    Look how We have favored [in provision] some of them over others. But the Hereafter is greater in degrees [of difference] and greater in distinction.17:22

    Do not make [as equal] with Allah another deity and [thereby] become censured and forsaken.17:23
    Sahih International
    The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [ Allah ] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving.17:45

    And when you recite the Qur'an, We put between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a concealed part-i-tion.17:46

    And We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness. And when you mention your Lord alone in the Qur'an, they turn back in aversion.17:47
    Sahih International
    And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.17:71

    [Mention, O Muhammad], the Day We will call forth every people with their record [of deeds]. Then whoever is given his record in his right hand – those will read their records, and injustice will not be done to them, [even] as much as a thread [inside the date seed].17:72

    And whoever is blind in this [life] will be blind in the Hereafter and more astray in way.17:73

    October 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm |

    prayer is nothing but a synonym for placebo

    October 5, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • well

      except that placeboes sometimes actually work

      October 6, 2011 at 12:23 am |


      which means that there is no god to answer prayers

      people feel better when they believe in the sky fairy

      but theyre still idiots

      October 6, 2011 at 12:25 am |
  10. Answer

    This story resounds much like the one on "France vs the banning of the burqas". However that ban has a serious weight in it's issuance. At stake was the issue of security and ident-ity in the France's accepted social policy. This story however is just sensationalism and self religious promotion.
    Sounds like a the deep zealot craze has hit this person and the banter rant of "I love Jesus so much! I want to promote my garbage!"

    Kill the zealot with a likewise zealot reply. Do I hear some muslim voices wanting to off this xtian? Oh you too are secretly trying to promote your own muslim faith also? Well then get into your burqas and sit right beside that zealot. You'll fit right on in! Let's put all the zealots who want to don their attires!

    October 5, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  11. xan

    All displays of religion should be banned from school and work PERIOD.

    "When you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you." -book of matthew

    October 5, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Mathew 18: 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

      Plus it does not look like she was praying.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:53 pm |

      those two or three should stay gathered in a basement

      not anywhere else

      want to know what else the bible says

      Ezekiel 13:18-20

      King James Version (KJV)

      18And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?

      19And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?

      20Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.

      god hates pillows hard

      October 5, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Really???

      You need to remember that freedom OF religion is what our country is based upon. No one is being harmed by a 6th grader wearing her rosary around her neck. If you do not wish to be religious that is your choice, fortunately you do not make the rules for everyone else. This paltry excuse will not hold up in court. They have to prove there currently exists a gang of rosary thugs at the Omaha Nebraska middle school. Good luck with that one (snicker). The ACLU will chew them up & spit them out. Grow up & accept that other people have rights too.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:00 am |

      im pretty sure it can stand up in court

      good riddance to more religious garbage

      October 6, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Really???

      It is so sad that some people feel so powerless, they must attempt to control the rights of others. Pathetic. Well, I'm off to sleep & pleasant dreams. zzzzz

      October 6, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>> "those two or three should stay gathered in a basement....not anywhere else"

      Is that like when the 700 club crowd says that people who are gay or lesbian should keep their lifestyles in their home and ...."not anywhere else"....

      Interesting, how the extremist all tend to echo each other over time. 🙂

      October 6, 2011 at 12:58 am |

      controlling the rights of others

      oh you mean like what religion does

      the irony of your oh so compelling argument

      and good for gay pride

      theyve been stifled by religion for centuries

      so you think freedom of religion is great eh

      you contradict yourself

      October 6, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  12. John Richardson

    So if a gang decides to use the American flag as a symbol, all flags will be removed from the Omaha schools?

    Who is in charge here? A bunch of thugs can just co-opt any symbol and that now is the one and only recognized significance of the symbol?

    October 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm |

      you must hate america if you want to ban the american flag

      October 5, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • MN

      No, gangs don't make it so that is the only use of that symbol but they do make it possible for someone to get seriously injured or even killed by a rival gang for wearing it, should we just let her take the risk???? Look people, the school board wasn't just looking for something to ban, this is obviously an issue there. I don't live there so I'm not certain but when it comes down to it, the school is responsible for this and every child's safety at that school. They see this as a serious threat, the fact that it is a rosary wasn't the school boards choice, they were just reacting to it. I don't know why everyone has to be so sensitive. The little girl gets to keep wearing all the rest of her cross "stuff" that she was wearing, just not the rosary, it's NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  13. Joe Haas

    Well NO ONE should be wearing a Rosary around there neck in the first place.

    October 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • *frank*

      Well, some girls like being choked by one.

      October 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • News Flash

      Why not ? Monks and nuns wear them on their belts.

      October 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • 2011cnn2011

      Talking about people who ruin all religions...I remember the rosary was a form of prayer of the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to God to teach love....and now dumb gangs are ruining this? The devil is smart.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Really???

      Are you an ashes & holly person who does not know that wearing a rosary brings a blessing? Praying the rosary takes a day off the time in purgatory & that benefit can be given to another by praying a rosary in their behalf.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Joe Haas

      Let me clear up what i said...One they way monks and nuns wear rosaries on the waist is done in a spiritual way and is used for prayer NOT fassion...Second from what I under stood from the video this girl was not using the rosary in a devotion sense.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • b

      f*** off

      October 5, 2011 at 10:50 pm |

      praying the rosary


      where in the bible is this rosary thing

      oh thats right

      the roman catholic church invented this trash around 1350 ad

      October 5, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  14. Sid

    herbert juarez is a spineless coward .

    October 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  15. bob oso

    I would've asked the superintendent if he wears suits, and when he said yes, I would've pointed out to him that so do bankers and they pretty much caused the collapse of the economy.

    October 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • Chokomoko

      You should do that, it would be lols!

      October 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

      well at least wed know it wasnt the devil that did it


      and bankers are usually out of the 6th grade

      therefore the suit thing woudnt be a valid argument

      religion needs to stay out of school altogether

      my tax dollars pay for schools around here

      last time i checked churches werent paying any tax dollars

      so keep that trash out of schools

      let children learn about reality first

      October 5, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  16. ytuque

    In Boston a few years back, the local schools tried to ban girls from wearing thongs hanging out of their low-rise jeans and were stopped because they the students' freedom of expression.

    October 5, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • MN

      I don't believe that. They may have stopped pursuing it due to the reaction they got but they *could* have banned it if they wanted to, school's can pass any dress code they see fit. Besides, what are they expressing? that they are s luts?

      October 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  17. TheRationale

    So the gangs are so bad that people associate crosses with them before Christianity?

    October 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm |

      its because a lot of these mexican gangs are catholics

      and being stupid catholics

      they believe in a ritual created by the catholic church almost 800 years ago

      catholics actually believe that the rosary will bring mary down from heaven to pray with them

      but since mary isnt god

      then this cant be possible if multiple people on different parts of the planet are praying to it

      catholics and mormons are probably the dumbest members of the bible cults

      October 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Really???

      Rationale it is a shame Brown Note is a bigot & has athlete's tongue. The school's gang banger excuse is so lame for an Omaha Nebraska middle school. I think the school should start (excuse the term) praying........because the ACLU will demand evidence that the principal's rosary wielding gang bangers even exist in Nebraska schools.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:19 am |

      as soon as your churches start paying taxes

      then they can have a voice about what happens in schools

      until then

      you have nothing more to say

      bye bye

      October 6, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"as soon as your churches start paying taxes then they can have a voice about what happens in schools until then you have nothing more to say"

      What about her parent's and even if this little kid buys a candy bar and the state tacks on their cut...

      Seems that .... your argument just fell apart. 🙂

      October 6, 2011 at 1:00 am |

      how did my argument fall apart genius

      i said nothing about her parents

      keep dreaming

      October 6, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  18. Really???

    So, if I were to wear a rosary publicly the police will suspect me of being a potential gang banger? Isn't this religious profiling the school officials are practicing? I have always been told people get a special blessing for wearing a rosary or praying the prayers. It is true that in the past rosaries were worn underneath a person's shirt due to Protestant persecution of Catholics in Ireland, but I have never heard that wearing a rosary was sacrilegious. So, are we reviving the persecutions?

    October 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm |

      many mexican gang members are catholics

      the rosary is trash anyway

      made up around 1350 by the church

      it has nothing to do with the religion

      stop preaching

      and read a bible for christs sake

      because you clearly dont know what youre talking about

      October 6, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Guest

      "many mexican gang members are catholics"

      Yep. If you see a rosary hanging from a car's rear view mirror, keep your distance...

      October 6, 2011 at 12:37 am |

      if you see a rosary hanging from a car rearview

      then you know theres an idiot behind the wheel

      October 6, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Guest

      The Brown Note,

      Yes, one kind of supersti.tious nut or another, that's for sure... Best not to even make eye-contact with them.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  19. Chokomoko

    Ah man that school's just playa hatin lol

    October 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  20. Joshua

    There is something called freedom of religon. I understand if something was banned for being hateful but a rosary is innocent.

    October 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • kimsland

      Lol I just answered that on my last post. Here it is again to clear things up.

      Freedom of Ridiculous.
      Yes I DO find that ridiculous, and I don't quite understand why others don't.
      I do actually hope that oneday we will have totally freedom of religion, and that religion will just not exist in anyone's mind anymore (except as a fairytale or joke of what people once thought even up to the beginning of the 21st century)

      Yes religion is idiotic.

      October 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      I am just like most folks kimsland hoping for the day when the radicals such as yourself, alqueda, and others who can not see a future of coexistence with others that do not believe, feel, or even look am certain way are finally drummed back into the shadows.

      People are making their way to peaceful coexistence kimsland and we are and will leave you and your like behind.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • kimsland

      You cannot co-exist with religious fools
      WE say they are just lost fools needing help and guidance
      Religious people say YOU are going to hell

      What the he!! is that about?
      I prefer not to have religious people in the parks with our kids.
      Am I wrong? NO, these fools point at my children and say they are going to he!!, whilst they play all day Sunday in the park.

      To He!! with these religious fools, or more more importantly LEARN idiots, GOD does not exist. Or just die and begone with your outrageous thoughts.
      OH they 'love' me (?) BUT I'm and my kids, are going to he!!. Well stuff that.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Answer


      The way to get everyone to look and respect each other in religion is to "off" the really old zealots. You trim every ridiculous passages in all your religious books of fear and vileness. Then you teach the way of acceptance to a really young and new generation! This is the only hope. In the meantime you are just wishing. Basically you're better off scrapping religion all together and start with just this one phrase "remember you are responsible!"

      October 5, 2011 at 11:28 pm |

      religious folks dont like responsibility

      they prefer to blame the devil

      October 5, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Mark it would be easy enough if first you just established which of the gods and religion will be considered the" real one". I do not think Christians would accept it being Islam, and I not think that Islam would consider Christianity as the one either....see the dilemma.. Now ditch religion as the yardstick of worth, and use Humanity instead, and you may have a start...

      October 5, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Really???

      It is a shame that freedom of religion is ignored by quasi intellectuals who want to trample all over everyone's rights, except their own. Hmmm.....The same might be said about the school principal or the obnoxious atheists on the news forums.....Makes you wonder doesn't it!

      October 6, 2011 at 12:35 am |

      i dont care about anyones religious freedoms

      they want to preach on the streets fine

      i will use my freedom of expression to tell them to keep it in their basements

      how do you like that

      you want to stifle our freedom of speech over your useless freedom of religion


      youre obviously a christian

      October 6, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”You cannot co-exist with religious fools”

      You can not because you start by insults. There was a time when grand wizards stood next to burning crosses or in school house doors and expressed feelings similar to yours. That is hate, plain and simple Kimsland.

      >>> “I prefer not to have religious people in the parks with our kids. Am I wrong?”

      Yep, you are wrong. Again, you are just echoing statements similar to those said against the Gay and Lesbian , and even the African American and Latino community. That is hate, plain and simple.

      >>> “NO, these fools point at my children and say they are going to he!!, whilst they play all day Sunday in the park.”

      …. So, do you feel all those of Faith do this? Are you going a bit irrational with your fear. If there are ones that do that then confront them, but you fail when you declare that all persons of Faith do that. That is hate, plain and simple.

      >>> “GOD does not exist.”

      Can you prove your claim?

      >>> “just die and begone with your outrageous thoughts.”

      Sigh … Kimsland... That is hate, plain and simple


      October 6, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”The way to get everyone to look and respect each other in religion is to "off" the really old zealots. You trim every ridiculous passages in all your religious books of fear and vileness. ….... This is the only hope. In the meantime you are just wishing. “

      Well, this is interesting. The old zealots? The hope I see is that peace and tolerance does not have to come with one side declaring that the other side must alter itself without offering to discard something at its core. What are you prepared to drop or drastically change on your side Answer? See in a society with Coexistence, it does not matter what you bring to the table or I bring to the table.

      >>> ”Basically you're better off scrapping religion all together and start with just this one phrase "remember you are responsible!"

      You mean like when the old Faithful say that you will stand on your actions before the creator and will be held responsible for what you did? …. Hmm... I guess it would not be as if the first story of man and woman, in the Bible, was not dealing with the issue of God saying that someone was responsible for a bad action..... Which is your favorite “apple” Answer 🙂

      How about keeping the Faiths, including Atheism, and learning another way for all to live in a peace.

      October 6, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”Mark it would be easy enough if first you just established which of the Gods and religion will be considered the" real one". I do not think Christians would accept it being Islam, and I not think that Islam would consider Christianity as the one either....see the dilemma..”

      Ok, this is very workable. If you get three moderates together. A Christian, a Jew and a Muslim. Then ask each which God do they follow. Throw out the names of Abraham, Moses, and Noah. You will find that all three will say that they follow the God of these three, and will possibly list more. You then get a few militants and ask them the same and more likely than not it will be more of “You do not follow the right God”.... than “this is who I follow”

      My view is that I hold that chances are it is the same God and I take a bit of heat from all sides on that. Add in the Far Eastern polytheist Gods and the God of the Bible saying put no other God before me, that just backed up to me that there are other Gods. The basis is though that it allows me to walk, talk and live side by side with those of other Faiths. Coming to the Belief Blog, over a year ago, and meeting more moderate Atheist allows me to discuss with out anger subjects of Faith with a wider spectrum of people.

      A few months ago a Atheist posted that there is a big difference in saying “this is what I believe and hold to be true” and saying “You are wrong”. If I were a person that had not grown in this past year I would not have heard (read) these words because I would be too busy saying since he was an Atheist he was automatically wrong.

      So where you see a dilemma, I only see that being such to those that are of the fringe and the extremes. Those who I feel will be more shocked at judgment day to see Muslims, Christians and Jews all together in Heaven. Those that are just in the middle.... we seldom feel the desire to argue that my God is better than your God. 🙂

      Hope this helps.


      October 6, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>> "i will use my freedom of expression to tell them to keep it in their basements how do you like that"

      So, when the 700 club and Westburo types are yelling at the Gay Pride parade and telling them to keep their lifestyle in their homes and not out in society, basically using the same words....How will be able to tell your different groups apart? 🙂

      October 6, 2011 at 1:59 am |


      you are a supporter of the 700 club i take it

      good for gay pride

      theyve been stifled by religion for centuries

      so you think freedom of religion is great eh

      you contradict yourself

      one group wants freedom

      the other which is religion just wants to control

      but you keep stupidly defending it

      youre so smart mark from middle river

      such a genius

      you slay me grand master genius

      oh please impart upon me more of your benevolent wisdom

      please tell me what other groups i should support that are in it for control

      you know since you want to compare me to the klan and the 700 club

      October 6, 2011 at 11:36 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.