A Texas teen claims she is forbidden from wearing a rosary around her neck in school because the Catholic prayer beads are a gang symbol, MyFOXDFW.com reported.
Tabitha Ruiz was stopped by security guards at Seagoville High School in Dallas last week and told to take off the silver and ruby beaded rosary, a gift from her mother. On Monday, the same thing happened when she again came to the school wearing the beads.
"I went to school, walked through the metal detectors and they told me to take it off," the teen said. "I asked them why and they said because it's gang-related."
Ruiz and her mother, Taire Ferguson, said they had no idea that rosary beads were a gang symbol. Police, however, are well aware.
"Lately they’ve been seen wearing religious jewelry such as the rosary worn by gang members, so it is a factor," Sr. Cpl Kevin Janse of the Dallas Police Department told the FOX affiliate.
While rosaries are not specifically banned in area schools, a spokesman for the Dallas Independent School District said that whether or not they're allowed is at the principal’s discretion.
Ruiz and her mother have vowed to take the district to court if necessary.