Officials at a Colorado high school reportedly confiscated rosary beads from a student, claiming the religious necklace is affiliated with gangs and disruptive to learning.
Manuel Vigil, a 16-year-old junior at Thompson Valley High School in Loveland, said administrators offered no explanation when they seized the rosary beads twice since school started three weeks ago, Fox affiliate KDVR reported.
"They tell me I can’t wear them," Vigil told the station, adding that he wears the beads to protect himself from harm.
"I use them for prayer. I feel safe when I have them on," he said.
Officials, however, claim the religious necklace is not safe for school.
"That’s typically not what we want for a safe environment for school," Thompson Valley School District spokesperson Margaret Crespo told KDVR.
Crespo claims the school gave Vigil two options before confiscating the beads. She said administrators asked him to either take them off or put them inside his shirt.
"You’re not giving us an alternative than to remove it," Crespo claims Vigil was told.
But Vigil said he only got a demand from the school.
"If he would have given me that option, I would have put it in my shirt," he said.