British school bans cross on health and safety grounds

A school in South East England has banned a 13-year-old Catholic girl from wearing a crucifix necklace in class because it breaches health and safety rules, according to teachers.

News.com.au reports that Samantha Devine, a 13-year-old Roman Catholic, was told by teachers at her school in Gillingham that it breached health and safety rules.

Her family reportedly said it will fight the decision and has accused the school of discriminating against Christians because Sikh and Muslim pupils can wear religious symbols.

The case echoes that of British Airways employee Nadia Eweida, who was suspended in October for failing to remove her necklace or hide it under clothing in accordance with company policy.

The girl has pledged to keep wearing the cross when school restarts next week after the Christmas holiday.

"I am proud of my religion and it is my right to wear a cross around my neck.

"I can't understand why the school thinks a tiny crucifix on a thin silver necklace is a health and safety hazard," she told the Daily Mail.

School bans cross necklace (News.com, 13/1/07)

British Christians cross over airline policy (CathNews, 17/10/06)
Celtic footballer convicted for crossing Rangers fans (CathNews 28/8/06)
Hong Kong residents cannot bear cross (CathNews 24/7/06)
Catholic chaplains affected by French veil law (CathNews 8/10/04)
Cardinal says French headscarf ban 'unenforceable' (CathNews 12/2/04)
Perth archbishop backs Premier's stand on religious freedom (CathNews 19/12/03)

15 Jan 2007