Statement from Schoolgirl Following Purity Ring Ruling

I am very disappointed by the decision this morning by the High Court not to allow me to wear my purity ring to school as an expression of my Christian faith not to have sex outside of marriage. I believe that Mr. Justice Supperstone's decision will mean that slowly, over time, people such as school governors, employers, political organisations and others will be allowed to stop Christians from publicly expressing and practising their faith.

Over two years ago, I was concerned at the number of teenagers who were catching sexually transmitted diseases, getting pregnant and/or having abortions.

The Government's Sex Education Programme is not working, and the pressure on young people to 'give in' to sex continues to increase. This is often because of the media's focus on sex and the expectations of others.

As a Christian I do not agree with sex before marriage. I believe I have a right not only to state my Christian views on sex, but also to demonstrate my Christian faith and commitment to God and my future husband not to have sex before marriage, through the wearing of a purity ring.

I, along with 11 other Christian girls at Millais School decided before God that we would make a commitment not to have sex before marriage, and as a sign of that commitment, to wear a simple silver ring from the 'Silver Ring Thing' movement.

The wearing of the ring was to me, a demonstration of my Christian faith and values, which are based on the Bible - which clearly teaches that sex outside of marriage is wrong and therefore not God's best for us.

Despite the fact that Muslims girls at our school wear headscarves, and Sikhs wear Kara bangles, the school refused to allow me to manifest my belief through the wearing of a ring.

The School Governors originally said it was for Health and Safety reasons that purity rings were banned from school, but have offered no evidence to support the view that wearing a ring could physically harm another pupil or staff member.

I still believe the decision by the Governors of the School goes against the Article 9 rights to Freedom of Religion and my right to express my faith in word or deed, in a democratic, Christian-based country.

I shall be consulting my legal team to consider whether to appeal.

Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parents, family and friends who have stood by me though all of this, and to the many hundreds of people, both locally in Horsham, across the UK and throughout the world who have sent me letters of support and assured me of their prayers.

I would also like to thank the national press and media for the balanced way in which they have covered this story, and have portrayed it for what it is; another example of the loss of the right of Christians to demonstrate their faith in public.

Lastly, but by no means least, I would like to thank my barrister, Mr Paul Diamond, and Mrs Andrea Minichiello Williams of the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship for all their advice, guidance and support through what is a legal and political minefield for a 16-year-old schoolgirl to walk through. I would also like to thank Paul Eddy, of Paul Eddy PR who has guided me through the maze of working with the national press and media.

To everyone I offer my thanks, and I deeply regret that I could not persuade the Court to consider upholding the religious liberty of Christian people in the United Kingdom.

As a Christian though, I live for another Kingdom, and serve another King, Jesus Christ, and therefore I shall continue to live and speak for what is right and true.

Thank you.

Miss Lydia Playfoot
July 16, 2007