- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2014

A 14-year-old boy was arrested at a Texas middle school football game after he refused to comply with officers and remove the rosary around his neck that was in violation of the school’s dress code.

Jacob Herrera was attending the Wednesday night game at Sam Houston Middle School in Amarillo, when an officer asked him to remove the rosary from around his neck or conceal it under his clothes, a local CBS affiliate reported.

The Amarillo Police Department said rosaries can sometimes symbolize association with a gang and students are asked not wear them visibly while on school property.

Amarillo Independent School District’s dress code does not specifically mention prayer beads, but it does prohibit students from wearing apparel that’s considered gang-related by law enforcement agencies, the news station reported.

“Last night at one of our schools, a student was identified as being in violation of the dress code for wearing an item in a manner which is considered to be gang related by local and national law enforcement,” the school district said in a statement. “A school administrator and liaison officer asked the student to either comply with the dress code rules or leave school property. The student repeatedly refused to comply with either option. At that time, the student was arrested for trespassing.”

Jacob’s mother, Lori Martinez, said her son is not affiliated with any gangs and that he wears the rosary for sentimental purposes.

“My son passed away two years ago, in 2012, and he was teaching Jacob, you know about God and how he should wear the rosary to protect him. So Jacob believes that that rosary protects him and it’s in remembrance of his brother,” she told the CBS affiliate.

Students reportedly wore rosaries to school in solidarity with Jacob, who is being held at the Youth Center of High Plains.

“I just want justice for my son and for them to let him go,” Ms. Martinez said.

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