A Christian teenager has been banned from wearing a crucifix by her school. 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 have 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 deep." 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."
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