Staff at the Thompson Valley High School in Loveland, Colorado, confiscated the rosary beads belonging to Manuel Vigil, because the school claims the the 16 year old was wearing them to show his affiliation with a gang, reports the Daily Mail.
However, in reality, Vigil and his family are Catholics and he claims that he wears the rosary beads for protection from gangs.
Vigil told kdvr.com: "I use them for prayer. I feel safe when I have them on."
But the school district said that Vigil's rosary bead string had 13 beads, a number associated with a gang called the 'Surenos,' instead of the traditional 10 beads.
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Principal Mark Johnson told kdvr.com: "It wasn't consistent with what would normally be a rosary, and because of that we felt like it could be gang-related. There was no punishment, we just removed it."
Vigil claims he had a second set of rosary beads, also confiscated by the school, which had 10 beads on it.
Vigil's mother Antoinette Ramirez told the Loveland Reporter Herald: "Having the rosary taken away was kind of like a huge hit for him. He wears it as a form of protection for himself."