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Christian Teenager TODAY takes School to High Court over right to wear Christian/Purity Ring

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Issued on behalf of Lydia Playfoot

Press Release Embargoed until 09:00

22 June 2007

A CHRISTIAN teenager is this morning (22JUNE), taking her school to the High Court over her right to wear a Christian 'purity ring'.

Lydia Playfoot, 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 ‘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 this year so that her studies, culminating last week in sitting her GCSE Exams, were not affected by ongoing tension between her and teaching staff. However, she persisted with her legal action, including asking the Court to expedite her hearing before she leaves school in a few weeks time.

Miss Playfoot is supported in her challenge by the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship. She is represented in court by leading Human Rights barrister Paul Diamond, who also represented Nadia Eweida in the British Airways 'Cross' case.

Miss Playfoot believes the 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.

Ends.

For further information:

Heather Playfoot (mum) 0789 446 5525; Andrea Minichiello Williams, Public Policy Officer, Lawyers' Christian Fellowship 0771 259 1164; Paul Eddy (PR) 01202 522177, 07932 019430.

Note to editors:

  1. Lydia Playfoot will be available at the Royal Courts of Justice, the Strand, for interview by Journalists, and through Andrea Minichiello Williams 0771 259 1164.

  2. The silver purity ring symbolises a vow of abstinence before marriage, and fidelity within it. For details, visit www.silverringthing.org.uk

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