By John-Henry Westen

Same Morris wearing banned crucifixDERBY, UK, December 22, 2005 ( – England’s Sinfin Community School is not backing down from its decision to suspend a 16-year-old for her refusal to take off a crucifix she wore around her neck on a gold chain for three years.ÂÂThe student, Sam Morris, was allowed back to school after a day’s suspension only after she removed the crucifix. Sikh religious bracelets, and Muslim sacred daggers are permitted at the school but the crucifix worn on a chain is not. contacted the local school council and was informed that the “jewellery ban” is still in place.Â

Gregory Carlin, an activist associated with the group Rights of the Scottish Child, has been actively lobbying the school and the school council to revise the policy, which Carlin says discriminates against Christians. Carlin, who has successfully fought UK school bans on Muslim head scarves and also a recent school ban on girls wearing skirts, has the support of leaders in the Sikh and Muslim community (see coverage: )

In an interview, Carlin told that the schools refusal to see the crucifix as a Catholic sacramental rather than “jewellery” is most disturbing.Â

Moreover, he suggests that the school’s allegations that there are safety concerns with the crucifix chain are laughable, especially since the less than one inch crucifix hangs on a very thin gold chain.“The initial research doneÂwith health and safety authorities found that children are frequently injured by school ties and even shoelaces, but we can find no record of a crucifix and light chain being implicated in any adverse event,” said Carlin.

The school is now alleging that exceptions to the rule banning crucifixes on chains may be made if the students ask specific permission to be exempted from the rule. However, Carlin says that such a deal would still be discriminatory since the wearing of sacred articles from other religions are permitted without permission.

Carlin hopes that Christians around the world will assist in pressuring the UK education officials to end discrimination against Christians in UK schools. The situation may end up in court, says Carlin, a prospect he would welcome in order to set a precedent of non-discrimination in schools.

To express concerns contact:

The Rt Hon Ruth Kelly MP, Secretary of State for Education and Skills
[email protected]
  Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT


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