Porterville boy told he can't wear a rosary at school

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Porterville boy was told he can't wear a rosary at school because it's a violation of dress code. His dad is upset and says school officials gave him a terrible explanation.

Estevan A. Campos always has his rosary around his neck. It was a gift from his grandma and it makes him feel safe.

"I believe in god," Campos added, "and that's my protection."

On Tuesday, he says, the principal at Belleview Elementary pulled him aside and told him, he's not allowed to wear it on campus.

"I'm just gonna get in trouble, they'll suspend me for two days," Campos said.

Estevan is just a 3rd grader and he didn't want to get in trouble, so he took the rosary off and told his dad about it after school. They share the same name -- and like father like son, dad wears a rosary too, the same one for seven years. He went to the principal office for an explanation.

Campos said, "I asked the secretary, why isn't my son allowed to wear a rosary to school? What got to me the most is she said, it's gang affiliated."

At Porterville Unified, wearing a rosary is a violation of dress code. Superintendent John Snavely says, it has been for two years now but he couldn't comment on what was said to Campos.

"I would hope that we would not have made reference to that with a third grader," Snavely said.

He says in the past, students were wearing the rosary like a necklace or jewelry and a Catholic priest asked the district to stop the practice.

Snavely added, "He specifically requested that we send out a notice to all sites asking that if we see students displaying a rosary that we ask them to either put it under their garments or put it in their pockets."

Estevan says his rosary was mostly under his shirt and it had nothing to do with gangs.

"Well it's glow-in-the-dark, I don't think that's gangster for kids," he said.

He'd like to keep wearing it every day to feel protected at school but on campus, he says, he'll take it off, just to follow the rules.

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