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February 28th, 2008
11:07 PM ET

Dress Code Controversy

School dress code, religious clothing, alleged gang affiliation and school safety: There were a lot of elements in play concerning the Oregon school controversy in Friday's show.  Different districts have different ways of handling situations like this.  When I worked as the writer of CNN Student News, we covered debates from American to French classrooms concerning Muslim headscarves.

This was the first time I remember covering a debate concerning rosaries, though.  And we'd be interested to see what you thought – whether the two suspended students should've continued wearing their rosaries (as they did), tucked them in (as they were asked to do), or left them at home altogether.

Carl Azuz, Anchor


Filed under: News Coverage
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Alexandra

    Carl-

    I think it is stupid that someone has to get punished just because he or she brought a religeous thing to school to symbolize their faith in God. I believe in God.

    February 29, 2008 at 12:01 am | Reply
  2. Spencer

    Suspending the students was a harsh discipline, but the friends should of obeyed the principles orders.

    February 29, 2008 at 12:14 am | Reply
  3. Michael

    I think that this situation with the rosary is not a good idea. Its freedom of expression and even though the prinicipal was trying to "do his job" I still think it was wrong. Most people don't think of gang activity when they see a cross. Most people think of religion. I think the boys did the right thing by showing their religious beliefs. The suspension was uncalled for and a very wrong thing to do. Its just the boys beliefs.

    February 29, 2008 at 10:24 am | Reply
  4. Travis

    Okay i think that the Principal went way too far to suspend the students for wearing their rosaries. One of the things that the colonists came here for was freedom from forced religion so its basically freedom of religion. I have never heard of any gang affiliation involving rosaries. if you believe in something then you should show it. Its nop different then someone asking if youre a christian and getting suspended for it. it just wasnt appropriate to suspend them for that. if they broke school rules it would have been different but there is nothing in the book about it. it was just a really stupid thing to do suspending students for wearing rosaries.

    February 29, 2008 at 10:30 am | Reply
  5. Caleb

    Wow. This one's pretty weird. I don't quite see why they would consider a crucifix, of all things, as a gang sign. Not to sound like a snob or anything, but are they ignorant fools? How could they possibly think a crucifix was a gang sign. It's a religious sign, so I could see how they might mistake it, but that's still a very large stretch.

    Honestly, I think they were right to keep them on. They weren't affiliated with any gangs, and the principal should have known that from just the way they acted, and the mother also said that one of them was an athlete. The principal should know from that. Of course, that's just my opinion.

    February 29, 2008 at 10:58 am | Reply
  6. Sara

    It's quite hard to consider a crucifix a gang sign. This is their religion; should they sacrifice it because someone is ignorant?
    They stood up for themselves, and I think they should be commended for that.

    February 29, 2008 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  7. Jay

    I think schools need to cool down on judging what is gang related because gangs are coming up with different gang styles and symbols
    that no one knows about.
    Also, teachers need to know that students that are wearing a cross or anyother kind of religious sign is not gang related but part of their religion because I wear a button that say Our Hope that show my religious belief not a gang related symbol.
    Plus I think teachers who tell student to take off or hide their religious symbol seems like they are breaking the freedom of religion rights because someone who is wearing the symbol might be showing their religious pride.

    Thank you for listening

    February 29, 2008 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  8. Lakeside=kk

    People should be aloud to wear whatever they please.
    This was suppose to be a free country.
    We are all free people and should have free speach.
    GOD BLESS AMERICA!

    February 29, 2008 at 7:16 pm | Reply
  9. Elizabeth

    i think the students should have listened to the principal and tucked the jewelry inside their clothing to avoid further punishment. On the other hand, i do not think that the students should have gotten in trouble for expressing their religious faith

    February 29, 2008 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  10. mindi

    how do they consider that as gang related...sure its a gang....proving there faith....those people had no right to punish them...seperation of church and state yes...telling someone to remove that due to gang relations...wrong....it made me very upset durning class

    March 2, 2008 at 12:10 am | Reply
  11. morgan

    I think the principal went way to far i mean it is just a neclace with a crousifix at the end its religious and it was a present and i think it was wrong for the principal was way to fa rwith giving the ladies son 5 days od suspention and his friend only 3 days they both did the same thing and i still think its wrong for them to get suspention.

    March 2, 2008 at 6:13 pm | Reply
  12. Cat :)

    the punishment was a little harsh but they should of listened to the principle .
    well just saying if someone wore something to school that represented satan wouldn't people get upset?
    the same can be true with rosaries. its just easier if people left off religous items like rosaries and stuff out of the school.
    i mean if u need to cover your head or other practices then ok.

    March 2, 2008 at 10:47 pm | Reply
  13. i LIKE TURTLES

    iHAVE NO CLUE WHY PEOPLE ARE SEEING GANGS ON T.V. & THINK YOUR COOL OR SOMETHING. A GANG WAS ARIGINATD IN CHICOGO. i THINK GANGS CAN MAYBE BE A GOOD THING, BECAUSE A GANG COULD JUST BE A LOT OF FRIENDS JUST GETTING TOGEATHER & HAVEING A GOOD TIME. & NOT SHOOTING & FIGHTING. NOW IF YOU SEE ALL THESE KIDS THAT SAY "WE ARE IN A GANG ." THEY ARE IN A GANG BECAUSE THEY NEED ATTENSION,OR THINK THEIR COOL OR CHOOSE TO BE IN A GANG. YOU CAN SAY GANG, BUT KNOW HOW TO USE THE WORD.

    March 3, 2008 at 10:58 am | Reply
  14. Lauren

    Carl,
    I did a speech in my forensics(speech) team about freedom of religion and I think this falls under the same catagory. If the issue were muslim or hindu students and the principle did the same thing he would have been accused of racial and religious discrimination. If I were that kid, I personally would have continued to wear the rosary, but that's how strongly I believe in freedom of religion. I might not agree with what you say or believe in, but I will fight for your right to believe or say it. I think this is about a violation of the first amendment.

    March 4, 2008 at 10:08 pm | Reply
  15. Lector

    One point people seem to be missing is that a religious icon might offend some people, I myself am an atheist and believe religious symbols should be kept either 1.) under clothing or 2.) taken off in school. Besides, if i came to school with a shirt saying "God is a Lie!" wouldn't you take offense? Or if someone wore a necklace with an inverted pentagram on it? There might be a gang that has a crucifix as it's symbol, the principal was doing his best to appease everyone, and not make prejudiced decisions that might offend someone/incite a lawsuit, we have enough of those already.

    March 5, 2008 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  16. Izsye

    religion shouldnt be placed in school because everyone is different would you suspend someone who was antichrist where something to their relations?

    March 5, 2008 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  17. Meghan

    I think showing your religous symbol at a public school would not be the brightest idea. Because some other people may not understand you religion and it could cause fueds if someone were to say "My religion is better". I think wearing a religous symbol to a public school might not be the greatest idea.

    March 6, 2008 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  18. Breanna

    Last Thursday in history class we watched this clip on CNN Student News and I'm not going to lie it really did upset me. Yes, the principle was probably right with the intent of eliminating anything resembling gang behavior from his hallways but seriously, a rosary? I can see other peoples arguments from the view of an athiest and them seeing it as offensive but really, the major religion within our world today is Christianity, do you really think making two high school students take off a necklace is really going to take away the entire offense of their religion? Also, I don't know how exactly the two students outwardly acted to the request to take them off but considering the way things are now-a-days where you can be discriminated for almost anything i can see them being upset about it. I fully back these two students in their decision, it's not very often where people have the strength to stand up for what they believe in and its nice to see some people do it for once. Also, if the principle is really trying to 'appease' everyone, why doesn't he let them be and show their faith in whatever it may be in their own way. If somethings offensive, the kids are in high school i'm pretty sure they can handle seeing a rosary.

    March 6, 2008 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  19. Kenny

    I think that the principal and the students are really to blame in this story. The kids should've tucked the necklaces in their shirts and they would'nt have been suspended. The principal was assuming to quick. You should always know. Don't assume anything. This is why this started.

    March 7, 2008 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  20. Astoria

    Why do people make such a BIG deal about what other people wear. Unless they are wearing close-to-nothing then maybe you should worry, but if emo kids want to wear black, then let them. Teachers, don't make them change because you dont like the all black. Your not wearing it so dont worry about it. If you dont like whant their wearing then don't look at them or just don't think about it. I got in to trouble the other day because i was wearing pajama pants. They made me change into sweat pants! I dont get why because they are the same thing. And my best friend got in trouble because he wore a scarf as a belt. I don't get school anymore. My school tells us to be unique and ourselves but all they do is tell us what to wear. Tell me do you think thats unique and our style.......NO!

    March 8, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  21. Nathan

    I say it's dumb that you can't show what you belive in because if you're goth they don't tell you you can't where black I say It's dumb just dumb

    March 11, 2008 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  22. Duncan

    The two friends should not have been suspended. If you are honoring your religion by wearing something yo u should not be asked to take it off or tuck it under your shirt. It is stupid that you would be suspended though for wearing your religious clothing.

    March 11, 2008 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  23. Sally

    There's a big difference between wearing a crucifix and wearing a string of rosary beads. A crucifix can be worn as a sort of "accessory", but rosary beads are very different. They should not be worn as an "accessory", and I don't know very many Catholics that would wear such an important object as a fashion statement. I hate to be so suspicious, but I would imagine with almost 99% certainty, that kids who are wearing rosary beads to school are NOT doing so out of the geniune love of prayer. It's not secret that the rosary is being abused as a symbol for gang affiliation. School officials should have the right to stop disingenuious uses of religious objects.

    August 27, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  24. robert

    in the first amendment it clearly states that all citizens have the right to freely express yourself so the students should still have the rights in the school

    February 10, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  25. brequanna

    dress code is very dumb and smart at the same time i think it is keeping alot of the kids out of the streets but also it is destroying there consentration in school like they always have to make sure everything on them is perfect every second of the day just to stay out of trouble like really come on now let kids and teens be free but just put certain limmits like no profanity thats all gosh

    December 16, 2009 at 9:32 am | Reply

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