Kirpan? No, Ban, Say School's Governors

A school in Barnet, north London (just up the road from me)  has withdrawn a boy of 14 who wanted to wear a 5" dagger, known as a Kirpan, to school as a demonstration of his faith as a Sikh. Apparently this object is to be worn by all Serious Sikhs as one of the 'five articles of faith', the others being uncut hair, a small comb called a Khanga, a steel bracelet called a Kara, and, erm, a pair of long johns (no, seriously, take a look at The Sikh Coalition's website if you don't believe me).

Now far be it for me to criticise a child's right to carry around a lethal weapon as a demonstration of his faith in the teachings of a bunch of 'Gurus', I mean it's a lot better than all those kids who carry blades around simply as a demonstration of the fact that they're thick as pig shit and destined for prison, but what is quite funny about this case is that the school had to ban it on - yes, I know you've guessed already - Health and Safety grounds.

So the Health and Safety act does occasionally have it's uses. As much as I long for the day when this sort of thing will be banned on grounds of religious bullshit, I suppose H&S will do for now.

Amazingly the boy has been carrying this blade to school for the last 2 years, but the school decided, for reasons unspecified, that it was no longer appropriate. The school had tried to compromise by offering to allow the boy to wear a 2" version, welded into a sheath, but this offer was rejected by the boy's family as it would only be a replica, which presumably God would not approve of.

Like God gives a shit anyway. I mean, he was pretty OK with having nothing capable of wearing a dagger for about 13.7 billion years, until some clever-dick in 17th century Punjab decided it was necessary as an 'article of faith', but of course these arguments are irrelevant where belief and adherence to tradition are concerned.

The local 'Sikh spokesman', was not impressed:

Mejindarpal Kaur, director of community group United Sikhs, said: "The Compton School's decision is a blow to religious freedom in Barnet - schools throughout the UK have accommodated Sikh students who wear a kirpan."

The boy's family said he is now being privately educated, having missed five weeks of school.

He missed 5 weeks? over this? Is that not slightly remiss of the parents? Is not general education a wee bit more important than protesting about your boy's 'right' to wear a blade to school?

A statement by the school's governors said: "We have examined potential compromises after looking at how this issue has been dealt with in other schools and elsewhere within the Sikh community and taken legal advice.

"At the moment we are holding a place open for the student should he feel able to wear a kirpan suitable to bring into school."

The Department for Children, Schools and Families are standing by the governors' decision, which is something I strongly suspect Baroness Warsi would have a few words to say about.

I was going to include a picture of a kirpan, but a quick search on Google images reveals so many different varieties of the things that you'd have to be God to know a kirpan from a dirk.

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Postman said...

Believe me, Gawd knows the difference between the real thing and a fake, welded-in-the-sheath, girly-Kirpan that only an infidel sissy would wear. While it may seem that He's on perpetual vacation, He pays especial attention to faith blades.