AUSTRALIA - A Christian teenager has been banned from wearing a crucifix by
Jamie Derman, 17, told News Ltd newspapers she was stunned when
told to remove her crucifix or she could be suspended.
A Sunbury Downs Secondary College student, Ms Derman's cross is
outlawed as part of the multicultural college's new rules on
jewellery and dress.
But churches has criticised the ban, saying it discouraged
students' religious aspirations.
Ms Derman said she felt discriminated against.
"I am angry, confused and upset," she said.
"I honestly believe I should be allowed to acknowledge (my
Christianity). Being told to take it off hurts. It cuts really
The cross had sentimental value because her baptism gifts were
missing, Ms Derman said.
"I can't understand why it is not all right for me to wear a
cross," she said.
"I honestly felt like crying." Her father, Gordon, said the ban
was the equivalent of ordering a female Muslim student to take off
a religious head dress.
"Nobody should take offence to anybody wearing a religious
sign," Mr Derman said. "She has a right to wear it. I believe it is
discriminatory. If we had a Muslim girl come wearing a headscarf,
nobody would say `boo' about it."
A reasonable demonstration of one's faith was something
Australians should rejoice in, said Catholic Archdiocese of
Melbourne auxiliary bishop Christopher Prouse. "People's religious
aspirations need to be respected," Bishop Prouse said.
Sunbury Downs principal Brett Moore said teachers had enforced
the new dress code. "It is not my decision, it is the policy," he
said. "Necklaces should not be visible."