A row has broken out after a teenager was banned from wearing a crucifix at a school where Sikhs can carry ceremonial daggers.
Sam Morris, 16, was reportedly sent home from Sinfin Community School, Derby, after she refused to remove a gold cross on a necklace.
She was told wearing a crucifix was not compulsory for Christians, so the necklace breached dress codes.
Other pupils are allowed to wear kirpan daggers and metal bracelets, as they are classed as religious symbols, said the Daily Express.
GCSE student Sam missed two days of study before her mother Debra Saunders, 37, allowed her to return to school without the necklace.
Christian and Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe insisted a crucifix was not costume jewellery.
She said: “To persecute a young girl like this for her religious beliefs, whatever they are, is unacceptable.”
Sam, who had worn the necklace for the past three years, told Sky News the cross was not a “fashion accessory” and she felt “naked without it”.
Sinfin’s deputy head Howard Jones said: “Most of our pupils understand allowing Sikhs to wear a bracelet is a compulsory part of their religion.
“Christianity does not require followers to wear a specific symbols.”
Derby City Council said the ban was lawful but questioned whether it was “desirable”.