Seventh Grader Suspended Over Religious Necklace

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A New York school district could find itself in court after repeatedly suspending a 13-year-old student for wearing a religious necklace to class.

An administrator at Oneida Middle School suspended Raymond Hosier May 24, after he refused to remove or cover up his Catholic rosary beads. The 7th grader had just been suspended for the same reason less than a week before.

Raymond said an assistant principal approached him both times, asking him to take the purple beads -- which include a crucifix -- from around his neck. After he refused, Raymond was sent home for two days.

The American Center for Law and Justice is preparing a lawsuit on behalf of Raymond and his mother, Chantell Hosier. The group is known for its work in cases involving religious rights.

"Without question, the continuing action taken by the school district in punishing Raymond for wearing a rosary to school violates the constitutional rights of our client," said ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow.

CBN News spoke with Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ director of international operations, about the case.  Click play for his comments.

The school district's policy states beads are not allowed because they can represent gang affiliation.

Raymond says he's worn the beads to school since September 2009, to show his faith and in honor of his deceased uncle and brother -- who was killed at age 12 while riding a bicycle.

In a letter to school officials, the ACLJ argues Raymond is a good, Christian student and not in a gang The group also warned that if the school continues to punish Raymond for wearing the beads, the family has the option to sue.

The school has until May 28 to respond to the letter.

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