Sikh students allowed to wear ceremonial dagger to school

November 15, 2010 | by | 40 Comments

Teachers have been advised that up to 2,000 Sikh students in schools across a county should be allowed to wear a ceremonial DAGGER – to SCHOOL.

Sikh students allowed to wear ceremonial dagger to school

New guidance issued to head teachers and governing bodies in Bedford states that baptised Sikhs can wear a dagger – or Kirpan – with a blade of up to SIX INCHES.

The dagger, usually worn discreetly beneath clothing, is one of the five ”articles” of faith worn by Sikhs who have gone through the Amrit baptism ceremony.

Members of Bedford’s Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) agreed the guidance developed by members of the Sikh community on Wednesday.

The advice was issued after parents asked for clarification on the issue and states that there should be no objection to the practice of wearing the five Ks.

These include the Kirpan, a steel bangle (Kara), unshorn hair (Kesh) a comb, (Kanga) and special underwear (Kacha).

According to guidelines, the Kirpan should be sheathed and out of sight and should be removed for PE lessons.

Tirath Singh Bhavra, of the SACRE committee, said that there were around 2,000 Sikh children in Bedford but that only a few of these would be baptised.

“It should never be brought out in an attack”

He said: ”There’s no age limit on children being baptised but it’s best if they are grown up and can make their own decisions.

”I haven’t been made aware of any schools that have turned Sikh children away for wearing a Kirpan.

”I think people need to be educated as to why Sikhs have the five Ks but the communities in Bedford get on very well.”

Individual schools can determine their own policies following the guidance issued by the council.

Robin Rice, Head of RE at Biddenham Upper School, Bedford, and a member of SACRE, said that the Kirpan was not designed as a weapon.

He said: ”If you work in a school that isn’t very multi-faith and suddenly a Sikh student turns up with a Kirpan you might think ‘what do I do?’

”The Kirpan should be hidden and it should never be brought out in an attack.

”I have taught for years and have never had an issue with Sikhs wearing the Kirpan. It’s more like a knife than a sword. They are not made as weapons.”

A spokesman for Bedford borough council said: ”There have been no incidents of Kirpan misuse reported in Bedford Borough schools.

”The advice from SACRE, which confirms the existing position taken by schools, is that the Kirpan can only be worn with the four other signs of the Sikh faith and schools will expect to remove it from any student not wearing all five symbols or who unsheathes it.

”It is always worn out of sight.”

In 2008, 14-year-old Sarika Singh won a High Court case against her school after it excluded her for breaking its “no jewellery” rule for wearing a Kara.

Last year, an unnamed boy, 14, was removed from Compton School in Barnet, London, after governors ruled his 5in (12.7cm) kirpan was a health and safety risk.

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Comments (40)

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  1. Gig Searle says:

    No objection, all females should also be allowed to carry a weapon – as a protection against possible rape.
    All children should be taught how to fight barehanded and with a knife or sword.

    Or course if you insist on religious discrimination (atheists are not allowed to do these things) we shall have to sue.

    • D Bloom says:

      You forget that when you give children weapons they will kill each other.

      That applies no matter their religion or gender.

      It happens regularly in London and it is always a disaster to everyone involved.

    • manic vice says:

      All women should be able to wear weapons cause of the threat of rape? By men, right?
      That’s total and complete slander against all men. And what’s worse, you’re discriminating.

      Why should I have to deal with an overly emotional female weilding a knife for no good reason? We all know women are emotionally unstable.

      How does the discrimination taste? How does it feel?

      I am male and have never in my life raped anyone or even thought about it. Frankly, I find it offensive that you would lump ALL men into the same category. And then you think it’s justified to provide a right to a certain group of people, but not others?

      Why shouldn’t I be allowed to carry a weapon against fundamentalist psychos like you? I have no idea whether you’re going to stab me with that knife you’ve elected to jam up your ass, do I?

      All children should be taught to fight? Really? You really aren’t thinking clearly. Do you know how many “accidents” we’d have? Far more than now.

      You need to pull your head OUT of your ass, not stick it in further.

      Go home, THINK about what you posted, then come back and tell us what lesson you’ve learned from your mistake.

      • Petespc says:

        “We all know women are emotionally unstable. ”

        So you complain about sweeping generalisations by making sweeping generalisations?

        Not too bright.

  2. Iggy Pop says:

    More religious privilage!!! The world is going mad!!!

  3. Shu says:

    In Toronto the courts and the religious leaders came to an agreement that they would allow students to wear daggers that couldn’t be removed from their sheaths- couldn’t they do something similar here?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was under the impression that most Sikhs wore a version of this dagger that has a rivet through it so it cannot be removed from the sheath. Therefor meeting the religious obligation without posing any actual threat.

  5. Dietpepsi112 says:

    OK, fine, so the Sikh kids are peaceful and would never whip out that blade to attack. I’ll buy that. So who’s to say that ANOTHER, NON-SIKH student isn’t going to jack up this poor, peaceful Sikh kid, KNOWING he’s got a blade on him? Now you’ve put the poor Sikh in danger of being mugged for his knife, which the aforementioned thug might use on him/her, as well as another student. Global rule–no blades/weapons for ANY reason. Period.

    • Ravneet says:

      Even though the Sikh Child is being picked upon, he will never raise the Kirpan on the student.

      • Guest says:

        And we should just take your word for it?

        • The Kirpan is a religious artifact. It’s easy for someone who does not know anything about it jump to conclusions that its a weapon and can be used to hurt. You have to read about Sikh values to truly understand that these baptized Sikhs are under religious oath and that the Kirpan is never taken out to be shown or glorified. Sikhs wear it with a special strap that makes it difficult for the Kirpan to be taken out. It’s also kept underneath clothing, so it’s not noticeable. A Sikh child will never take out the Kirpan if it is being bullied. It will go against his oath and religion, which is why the Sikh child would have the Kirpan in the first place. 

  6. Lenny says:

    You all realize that it isn’t even sharpened, right? Even if you could un-rivet the thing, it couldn’t cut butter.

  7. bob says:

    If someone wanted to hurt someone they would pick up a rock, or a chair, or any other object. Prohibiting will not stop it. Fear of an inadament object is silly. Its the person that hurts someone.

    • K O S11 says:

      nyone who knows anything about weapons knows that if theres one around its more likely to be used than a rock. if your argument is that anyone can use anything for a weapon your being pretty generous. I would take on a retard with a rock vrs the religous zeal of an individual whos drawn a ritual blade required to taste blood when it leaves there scabard…

    • D Bloom says:

      People use whatever items to hand during an attack. If there is a chair around or a rock around they may use it. However you are far more likely to kill someone with a knife compared to the other two objects.

      The other point is when you keep a knife, it’s primary purpose is to stab another person that may lead to their death. If you are aware of this and still commit the act resulting in death –> murder.

    • manic vice says:

      I agree with your post, however… your spelling is TERRIBLE.

      “inadament”? Really? The word doesn’t even SOUND close to the spelling.
      “Inanimate” is what you were looking for.

      You’re welcome.

  8. Jaydvm says:

    In India where Sikhism originated very few Sikhs actually wear a real dagger instead they have a very small dagger as a symbel attached to a very small wooden comb. The symbolic dagger is no more than half an inch long and about a 1/16tth of an inch wide and attached to the symbolic comb with nails at both ends. Some Sikh’s are pushing buttons and it may come back to haunt them, religion me thinkg should be personal and not in your face.

  9. What_a_crap_life says:

    WTF is wrong with people? I noticed how ‘DAGGER’ is highlighted, but theres more chance being slapped or stabbed by some frikken dumb chav f-ing and blinding, then a sikh person using his kirpan. Ignorance is truly a bliss for alot of people, and its amazing what opening a book can do in broadening peoples mind. Dont generalize, they’ve done alot for this country during world war one and two, but hey, if it wasnt for alot of sikhs, nazi germany would’ave arse raped england a looooong time ago. Its called…READING..and also BBCiplayer.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “I have taught for years and have never had an issue with Sikhs wearing the Kirpan. It’s more like a knife than a sword”

    well thats alright then

  11. Americans_are_war_criminals says:

    Fine, ceremonial, make it a rubber one then.

  12. No weapons in school for anyone for any reason. It’s not religious discrimination to ban ALL weapons in schools. It’s religious discrimination to allow a religion to bear weapons in schools while not allowing the other students of different religions and beliefs to do the same. DO NOT DISCRIMINATE.

  13. Jaf says:

    What on earth are they thinking? Will the christian kids start bringing bows of flaming gold and arrows of desire to school?

  14. Ravneet says:

    I understand your concerns of having a dagger amongst children, but a true Sikh will never harm any one. The kirpan is only used for stopping violence and it is one of the symbols for a Sikh. And understand that only baptized Sikh’s are allowed to carry a Kirpan.

  15. LibraryJim says:

    And Scots-heritage students should be able to carry their skean dhu knives, the Irish-heritage their Shelleigh, Japanese-heritage their katana, and during hunting season everyone can bring their hunting rifles to be kept in their lockers.

    Right?

  16. Ricky says:

    What the hell, so people who practice sihkism are allowed to carry a BLADE in the name of religious freedom but yet Christians are not allowed to pray privately to themselves in school. and a boy was persecuted for placing the AMERICAN flag on his bike. this is disgusting…what has america done? wake up people

    • Ricky says:

      To edit: i do believe the sikhists by all means should be able to carry their dagger, but it is evident that there is always a double standard when it comes to government funded institutions. we have lost our constitution to the ways of the politicians who want people to believe that they are protecting your rights when in reality they are the biggest hypocrites of them all.

  17. Guest says:

    If an American child is caught with a simular blade in school they are arrested ,and or expelled,but we are supposed to accept this double standard to protect their religious rights

  18. Guest says:

    School is for learning,if they want to play sinbad they can do it at home.

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