A six-year-old boy attending a U.K. primary school is at the center of a controversy regarding the school's ban of his Christian bracelet and his father's outrage over alleged discrimination of his son's expression of faith.
The young student, Eddie Thompson, was forced to hand over the symbolic band when a teacher discovered the Christian bracelet under his sock when he scratched his ankle, reported U.K.-based Daily Mail. The boy's father was upset after learning that his son was no longer allowed to wear the Christian band.
The father, Peter Thompson, told the Daily Mail that his son had chosen the bracelet at a local Christian bookshop and had been wearing it unseen for the past six months. "We are a Christian family and Eddie's band was a reflection of this," said Thompson. "He wears the band because he wants to feel that God is always with him."
Although Thompson has demanded an apology from the head at Estfeld Primary in Tickhill, the school stands by its explanation, which is that the bracelet violates the school's uniform policy.
Head teacher Diane Risley said: "At Tickhill Estfeld the safety and well-being of all pupils is taken extremely seriously and the school has a clear uniform policy in place to help families understand what pupils can and cannot wear whilst at school."
Thompson's issues with his son being banned from wearing a faith symbol is similar to the 2010 case of Nadia Eweilda, a British Airways check-in worker who refused to hide her cross necklace at work.
Eweilda believes that the British Airways had openly discriminated against Christians by not allowing them to wear religious symbols while they allowed other religious groups to showcase their faith with turbans and other headdresses. Eweilda brought British Airways before the employment tribunal and the tribunal decided that she was treated as any other employee who went against uniform policy.
But just this past Jan. 15, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of Nadia Eweilda, citing that the United Kingdom under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights had infringed upon Eweilda's religious rights. Some hailed Nadia Eweilda's victory represents a small step in religious tolerance in Europe.