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Last Updated: Friday, 8 February 2008, 09:49 GMT
Girl suspended over blazer emblem
A schoolgirl suspended from class for wearing religious images on her lapel will continue to keep them on her blazer, her mother has said.

Catrina McDermott has been threatened with expulsion for wearing emblems of St Patrick and the guardian angel.

She was suspended from St Eugene's College in Roslea, County Fermanagh, after refusing to conceal the badges.

However, Ann McDermott said her daughter was determined to keep wearing the emblems.

She is expected to return to school on Monday following her suspension.

Mrs McDermott said the badges had given the 15-year-old strength in the face of alleged school bullying.

"She thinks that if she removes them then you would think she was ashamed of religion and what she stands for," said Mrs McDermott.

"It is a Catholic maintained school, there is nobody she is offending, but all I can put it down to is religious discrimination."

'Rules and regulations'

She said Catrina had worn the badges for four years before the school had banned all emblems after many pupils began wearing them.

"They can talk about St Patrick in school but they are not allowed to wear what he stands for," said Mrs McDermott.

However, school principal Martin Knox said the decision to forbid pupils wearing any badge was introduced last year.

"We have rules and regulations in the school and we have to apply them," he said.

"It is the first time a pupil has refused to take them off.

"I don't see how this can be resolved. The compromise for the parents is essentially to put the badges on the inside of her blazer, if she wants to continue in this school."

Catrina McDermott speaking to Julian Fowler

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