Teenager takes school to High Court

Silver Ring ThingAFTER nearly 12 months of waiting, Lydia Playfoot will this morning (22JUNE), take her school to the High Court over her right to wear a Christian 'purity ring'.

Lydia, 16, hit the headlines last year when Governors at Millais School in Horsham, West Sussex, banned her from wearing a small silver ring, symbolising her Christian commitment to sexual abstinence until marriage. The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship support Lydia in her challenge. Lydia will be represented today in Court by barrister Paul Diamond, who also represents Nadia of the ‘British Airways 'Cross' case.

The ‘Silver Ring Thing’ is a Christian education project aimed at helping teenage girls value themselves, make right choices about their futures, and reduce Britain's ever-increasing rise in sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies amongst teenagers.

Miss Playfoot was told the ring broke the school’s uniform policy – a policy that prohibited all jewellery except ear studs, but still allowed for Muslims to wear headscarves and Sikhs to wear Kara bracelets.

School Governors rejected all requests to allow her to wear the ring. Lydia removed the ring at the start of his year so that her studies, culminating last week in sitting her GCSE Exams, were not affected by ongoing tension between her and teaching staff, but persisted with her Court action, including asking the Court to expedite her hearing before she leaves the school in a few weeks time.

Lydia believes Millais School has infringed her rights under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights which, she says, gives her the right to “in public or private, manifest her religion or belief in worship teaching, practice and observance.”

Lydia believes her school's uniform policy is ‘discriminatory’ as it allows all faiths, except Christians, to wear items symbolic of their beliefs.

The silver purity ring symbolises a vow of abstinence before marriage, and fidelity

within it. For details, visit www.silverringthing.org.uk

See also BBC video report
and interview with Lydia and her father.