A Pakeha student whose necklace was forcibly removed by a teacher — even though Maori students are allowed to wear their taonga (treasures) — has quit school over the incident. Megan Church complained to the Human Rights Commission about the Marlborough Girls College dress code.

This permits students to wear greenstone or bone carvings as part of its “Treaty of Waitangi obligations”. But it does not allow any other necklaces except the Christian cross and the Jewish star of David, and they must be kept out of sight on a long chain.

Megan, 16, wanted to be able to wear her necklace of crystal amethyst, a gemstone she believes has a calming effect on her. She has worn the stone since she was 10.

She knew the dress code and had been told several times last year not to wear the necklace. She tucked it under her clothes rather than remove it.

Monique Devereux and NZPA, February 27 2004

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