NY School Changes Policy on Religious Necklace

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A New York school district has voted to amend a discriminatory policy that led to the repeated suspension of a Christian student over his Rosary beads.

The American Center for Law and Justice filed suit on behalf of Raymond Hosier in an effort to change the dress code at Oneida Middle School, which labeled rosary beads as a prohibited "gang-related" item.

Hosier, a 7th grader. was suspended twice in two weeks in May for wearing his Catholic rosary beads that include a crucifix. He said he'd been wearing the beads since 2009 to show his faith and honor his 12-year-old brother who was killed while riding a bicycle.

A preliminary hearing for the case was set for Sept. 8, but Schenectady School District officials voted Wednesday to amend the policy to remove the discriminatory language.

"This policy change represents a critical victory for religious freedom as well as our client and all students in the school district," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said.

He added, however, that the lawsuit against the district is still in place.

"Removing the discriminatory policy does not bring an end to our lawsuit. We stand ready to resolve the remaining issues - liability and damages - either outside or inside the courtroom," Sekulow said.

The ACLJ will request that next week's hearing be cancelled. Hosier plans to attend a different school for the upcoming term.

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