Teenager banned from wearing Christian chastity ring at school

London, UK - A 12-year-old girl has been banned from wearing a silver chastity ring at school.

The item of jewellery owned by Kioni Lansbury represents her intention to stay a virgin until she marries.

But her school has deemed it potentially dangerous and against uniform rules.

Kioni, who is a regular church-goer, was inspired to wear the ring by the American pop group the Jonas Brothers, who have all made pledges of celibacy.

Purity rings are popular in America where organisers have persuaded a vast number of teenagers to abstain from sex.

Kioni, of Ottery St Mary in Devon, said: 'Lots of girls sleep around. I want to keep myself pure.

'Many of my friends want to get one. If people can wear head scarves, why can't I wear a ring?'

Kioni, who will turn 13 later this month, added: 'The ideas behind the purity ring are something I believe in. I believe in Jesus and a lot of his teachings.

'If you wait you know you're with someone who loves you.'

She added that she would continue to wear the ring at school but remove it when appropriate. 'I will take it off if I think it's dangerous but I'm going to carry on wearing it.

'I came across the whole purity ring thing after getting into the Jonas Brothers. I loved the music but then discovered what they stood for and it went from there.'

Kioni was given the purity ring by her mother Sandra Holden last month.

The 42-year-old said: 'I think she should be able to wear it. It is no different to religious symbols. She wants to save herself for when she's older and doesn't want to waste her innocence. She feels very strongly about this.'

Kioni was banned from wearing the ring at The King's School in Ottery St Mary after a teaching assistant reported it to headteacher Faith Jarrett.

Yesterday, Mrs Jarrett defended the ban and said: 'The ring would be extremely dangerous in PE, technology or science lessons.

'I have told Kioni she can keep the ring in her bag. I'm quite happy for her to have it in school.'

She added: 'It's great that young people have this commitment. I think purity rings are a great idea. But she should keep it in her pocket or purse - it would be a health and safety issue if she wears it on her hand.

'It's not a case of being religious or anti-religious. We take the view that it's potentially dangerous.'

In July last year, schoolgirl Lydia Playfoot, 16, lost a High Court battle to wear her chastity ring at school.

The judge rejected her claim for equal rights with Muslim pupils allowed to wear head scarves.

Chastity and purity rings originated in America in the Nineties and became popular as a gift for parents to buy their children.