Skip to comments.School Suspends Teens for Wearing Crucifixes
Posted on 02/25/2008 6:02:56 PM PST by Mount Athos
A pair of Albany teenagers suspended for "gang-related behavior" because they were wearing crucifixes say they were only wearing gifts from their mothers.
Jaime Salazar, 14, his friend Marco Castro, 16, were suspended from South Albany High School recently after they refused to put away the crucifixes they were wearing around their necks.
Salazar said Principal Chris Equinoa saw his necklace and told him to put it away. "I was like, why?" Salazar said. "He says it's related to gangs."
Salazar said he argued and was sent to the office. Instead, he went home. Later, he received a note saying he had been suspended for five days for "defiance and gang-related behavior."
Castro, a junior, was suspended for three days after refusing to take off a string of milky rosary beads, with a crucifix and a tiny picture of the Virgin Mary, that he was wearing around his neck. His mother gave it to him, he said.
Equinoa said religious items are not banned. But, as principal, he reserves the right to ask a student to remove, or cover up, any item he feels could indicate gang affiliation even a crucifix.
The school district backs him up.
Principals have the latitude to determine the difference between genuine religious observance and gang symbols, said Jim Haggart, executive assistant to the superintendent.
"We're not trying to squash any religious symbols and we're not trying to get into religion, but we are trying to get into student safety, and that's what we're really concerned about," Haggart said.
Equinoa said he could not comment on specific student discipline issues. But he said any directive to a student to remove or cover any item, religious or otherwise, would not be made without other information.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
This is so wrong on so many levels.
The principal had better watch for the Mezuzah gang.
The school has definitely violated these girls’ First Amendment rights. IMHO.
Yeah, those 12 Apostle dudes are really baaaad!
Why does this bozo Principal. Chris Equinoa still have a job?
It's a shame when a gang co-opts a religious symbol
“The school has definitely violated these girls First Amendment rights. IMHO.”
They aren’t girls.
>>From reading about this earlier today on another thread, I learned that the Latin Kings, among others, actually DO use crucifixes as part of their gang symbols. One poster said that the type of cross described here (beaded) is exactly what they wear.
It’s a shame when a gang co-opts a religious symbol<<
I have a core problem with banning expression in the first place - blue bandanna or whatever.
When it starts to include religions symbols the state has really over stepped.
If the gangs are engaging in criminal activity prosecute them vigorously for that - banning their clothing or jewelry is wrong, IMO. Its not unlike the people who ban guns instead of punishing crime committed with guns.
I believe Hitler did the same thing with the swatica (spel?)
We told those wearing the rosary beads (only members of a gang that quickly disbanded after the administration had a chat with the police department) that they could be worn but had to be under their shirts.
Here’s a thought... have ALL the kids return to school wearing crosses and crucifixes in defiant display.
Let’s see the school try to send ALL of them home after that.
Indeed he did. The swastic (sp?) is a sanskrit symbol that has thousands of years of historical significance in Hinduism as do the Aryans, who were not necessarily white, blonde, blue eyed, etc. Hitler hijacked these things and changed the way the swastic and the term "aryan" are perceived forever.
They were told to put them away or out of view. The kids are hispanic and so is the pricipal. They were not told to throw them away.
I support school officials until I have proof that they are wrong.
Don’t forget those Amish gangs.
Ruined them for all time, I agree.
It is public school - what do these kids expect?
The last sentence in the article excerpt says they do not ask students to remove items such as this without OTHER information leading them to think it is not simply a religious item.
Considering I have seen quite a few unsavory Hispanic characters I know are not exactly devout wearing crucifixes, I would not be surprised if some gangs do wear them.....it is a way to have a symbol that isn’t automatically assumed to be gang-related.
School should be able to have any rule that they want; however, they have to treat everyone equally. If they can’t wear a crucifix on a necklace, then NO ONE can wear any jewelry at all. The suspension is ridiculous.
Correct. The swastika was very popular in the boom for "all things oriental/eastern" in American design back in the day. There are several buildings in Bayonne, NJ where the developer incorporated the swastika into the design that still stand. It was even featured on the world famous Corn Palace in 1907:
That doesn't strike me as quite altar-boy grammar, somehow. Actually sounds more like a gang-itude.
I have great reverence for crucifixes, but I'll give the principal the benefit of the doubtunless it turns out he's an ACLU nut.
You really can’t make stuff like this up.
Truth is stranger than fiction.
A crucifix is a gang symbol?
Who woulda guessed?
We certainly can’t have the kind of gangs running around lose like Jesus did.
And how is banning a crucifix about student safety?
If they tried that around here, the principal would be tarred and feathered and the superintendent wouldn't have enough hours in the day to deal with the irate parents.
And every kid in the school would wear one the next day.
That looks much like the Kartouche’s that one could have made up in Ryadh; of course, I never saw any quite like that design for sale there.
Too bad you couldn’t have collected them all after school and made them recite the whole program, with each mystery.
Actually I was not a Catholic when that incident occured but I was heading down the road towards home.
I mention to a couple of the kids when they complained that rosary beads were not an article to be worn as a fashion statement but as a sign of your faith and a prayer aid.
Why was the kid even wearing a Rosary? It’s not jewelry, it’s a tool used for prayer. Unless he’s contemplating a religious life and prays frequently during the day, there really is no reason for him to wear it.
Now, that having been said, we homeschool so if my kids want to wear their Rosary I don’t have to even think about whether or not it is gang related!
“Salazar said Principal Chris Equinoa saw his necklace and told him to put it away.”
I had no idea that Chris Equinoa is a Saudi.
I know, my kids use all sorts of different bandanna colors, too.
We have blue shirts “crips” and red jackets “bloods” and we are just ALL messed up.
I support the school officials in this too. There are undiscussed variables in this, that it is a gang sign. Just would like proof that these Jr Hi kids really loved the Lord ....
I work with kids that age...
If gangs are such a problem, ban the gang members, not the gang get-up.
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That looks like the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.
The schools in our area have adopted dress codes and banned gang symbols. But, I don’t see how it solves the problem. Every time an item of clothing/jewelry is banned, the gang members are just going to come up with another way to send signals to each other.
Yup. It may be vaguely possible that this principal knows more that’s going on in his school district than posters to this forum.
Ummm - my guess is two boys - Jaime (Jimmy) and Marco (Mark).
If I recall correctly, that’s how it started in Rome.
I believe he does, but banning symbols is ultimately useless, and besides, I don’t agree with banning a certain article of dress.
>>Why was the kid even wearing a Rosary? Its not jewelry, its a tool used for prayer. Unless hes contemplating a religious life and prays frequently during the day, there really is no reason for him to wear it.<<
If this were a scapular, I would have a problem. A rosary? Their moms should know better.