District Suspends Student For Wearing Symbol Of Faith

Mother Says Pentacle Doesn’t Symbolize Devil Worship
NBC5i.com, Aug. 29, 2002
http://www.nbc5i.com/news/1639193/detail.html

WAXAHACHIE, Texas — A North Texas mother claims her daughter is suffering from religious discrimination, as she was suspended from class for wearing a certain necklace.

The family practices the Wiccan religion. The girl’s mother said the Waxahachie school district is denying her daughter an education because of her faith.

“It’s called a pentacle. It holds a lot for me, and I think it protects me,” Rebecca Moreno said.

Rebecca and her mother said the pentacle, similar to a pentagram, is not a symbol of devil worship, but is a symbol of the Wiccan religion.

“It’s a multi-dietied religion that’s Earth based and worships the earth,” Rebecca’s mother, Laura Moreno, said. “To us, this is what a cross is to a Christian, what a Star of David is to an individual who is Jewish. It’s very personal to us.”

The Morenos said they believe Rebecca is being discriminated against for displaying their faith.

But the Waxahachie school district doesn’t see this as an issue about religion. Administrators said Rebecca would be welcomed in school no matter her views as long as she obeys the dress code.

Waxahachie Independent School District’s Candace Ahlfinger said, “When we disrupt the educational progress of other students by wearing disruptive clothing, disruptive jewelry, disruptive hairstyles, whatever is disruptive, we are not only hurting one student, we are hurting all.”

Rebecca’s mother said the pentacle isn’t a disruptive force, and believes her daughter is being deprived of an education because of ignorance.

“We just want the religious freedom that everybody else has,” Rebecca said.

Rebecca’s mother said she has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, which she said is considering filing a lawsuit to force the district to allow her daughter to wear her necklace in class.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday August 30, 2002.
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