Texas City student banned from wearing cross necklace


by Rucks Russell / 11 News


Posted on May 14, 2010 at 5:46 PM

Updated Friday, May 14 at 8:29 PM

Texas City— A Texas City middle school student has found himself at odds with a dress code which prohibits necklaces that look like rosary beads. 

"I think it’s not fair that they won’t let me wear it," said Christian Thompson, an 8th grade student at Blocker Middle School

In 2005, Army Private Ramon Villatoro was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb. Thompson and Villatoro were good friends. Villatoro owned a necklace that looked like rosary beads and a cross. After his death, Thompson wanted one just like it. 

"It helps me remember him and makes me feel safe," added Thompson.

But three weeks ago, Thompson was attacked by a couple of boys at his school. A responding school police officer took the necklace away because it looked like gang paraphernalia. 

"My son is not in a gang and they’re victimizing the victim," said Thompson’s mother Marissa Harper.

A spokesperson with the Texas City Independent School District contends the policy is designed to protect all children whether they’re part of a gang or not. 

"It’s about any item or accessory that’s been linked to gang activity," said district PIO Melissa Tortorici.

But one mother and her son are vowing to fight. "This is more than a necklace," said Harper. "It’s a memory and an honor for a soldier who fought and died for our country."