Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Religious Dress back in the News: Sikh Girl Excluded from School


The BBC (and many others) report this case of a girl excluded for refusing to take off a bangle which she considers part of her Sikh faith.
Read the story at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/7081573.stm

While the BBC has its usual ranting site at http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?forumID=3792&edition=1&ttl=20071107145207 I thought maybe some of the readers of this blog would like to comment here:
- should a school have a uniform policy that bans all religious expression?
- should it have uniform at all?
- should this pupil be allowed back - is she right to hold firm to her belief that she must wear this item?

I look forward to comments...
Dave

8 comments:

  1. Why stop at jewellry or headscarves?

    Let's take all religious WORDS out of the language too. Forget words like 'faith', 'belief', let alone 'God'. Religious cursing, on the other hand would probably be acceptable, given the ignorance and stupidity of hypocrisy. What about religious holidays? - take Christmas, the mid-winter addiction to drinking and debt, out of the secular calendar, well, it wouldn't happen, would it? This issue is getting close to the malignancy of censorship and surveillance

    I am laying on a slippery slope argument here, but only to draw attention to a tiresome, weary and thick-headed protest against wearing religious symbols.

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  2. Anonymous10:43 am

    I think it is wrong to exclude her for her religious beliefs. She has a right to her own religion & she is obviously aware of the bangle she wears so she would be careful in the lessons mentioned in the article.

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  3. I actually think we need to have some perspective here. This young girl is not out all night drinking, behaving anti-socially, or ignoring and abusing teachers. she is not, as far as we know, refusing to take an active part in school life. She is merely wearing a bangle. to non-sikhs, a bangle. to sikhs, an important article of faith - surely, her being allowed to wear it does not harm at all?

    to suggest this bangle - again, thats what it is at 'worse' - creates religious segregation or undermines the rules and therefore the discipline of the school is simply absurd. In my opinion.

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  4. Let her wear the bangle, other kids wear the cross in many different variations... It is time to stop hating and start loving, embrace the race.......

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  5. jeangenie2:31 pm

    what has happened here is yet another occurrence of biased religiousism (is that a word, it is now!) when are these schools going to stop christian assemblies, which are still law..or is it ok to have religious WORSHIP of one sort, but not clothing or symbolic jewellery of another kind?
    i think that this is ridiculous. in a world where schools are supposedly encouraging multi-racial and multi-cultural education, is it not about time that they actually encouraged the wearing of the veil for the muslim girl, the turban for the sikh boy, the bangle for the sikh girl, the kippah for the jewish boy and of course, that symbol of love, life and execution, the christian cross.
    how can it be that whilst being encouraged thru studies, religion is banned thru symbolic clothing..

    i acknowledge the attempt to disarm schoolchildren of all personal identity. the wearing of school uniform and tidy haircuts etc (a personal nightmare in my household for my punk/emo/alternative/anarchic/authoritarianly challenged son!!)is supposed to negate any feelings of inferiority or superiority within peer groups, and so that the children can supposedly concentrate on their work rather than the style or brand of clothing worn by the person next to them...

    whilst i can see what the education authorities are hoping to achieve here, any parent or teacher will tell you that it fails. children will always and do find ways of adjusting their uniforms to fit with their chosen fashion and culture that they are presently following, and these feelings of inferiority and superiority still persist. begging the question, why wear uniform? the one and only reason i have ever been able to come up with is so that it is easier, on school trips, to keep an eye on the rampaging children. saying that, the new school my daughters are at do exactly the opposite, school uniform is NOT worn for trips.....

    getting back to the original point then, i think it is sadly yet another face of the facist regime that we live in; to stop a child from wearing a bangle for religious reasons is ridiculous in my view....many children have their ears pierced or wear necklaces to school... the most that happens is they have to plaster over their earrings for sports lessons.. and as she agreed to remove it for such lessons and others, i cannot see what the problem is here..

    surely this leads in 2 directions.. the banning of ALL religious symbolism, clothing, jewellry and all iconography and worship from schools, so the children are reduced to being merely humans and not of any culture, tradition or religion.. or what about as i mentioned earlier, the encouragement of their individualness, no uniform, cultural and traditional differences encouraged and developed and the wearing of religious clothing and accessories supported for those with such inclinations. people, children and adults alike, have a right to their beliefs; and as long as the demand is harming no one, if their belief entails the wearing of particular clothing or accessory then what of it? there can surely be no reason for stopping a polite, hard working girl from attending school...

    humans are incredibly complex and varied, and i find it staggering that in this multi-cultural age, the education authorities are still trying to break children down to all being the same, no religion, no culture and no identity....

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  6. I think jeangeanie is right that banning bangles and the likes is not going to stop schoolkids from showing their individualism. Could we worry though that it could spiral down the other 'slippery slope' toward the creation of symbol-cliques and too much religious expression (distractingly so) in the classroom? In the UK I don't think that is such a legitimate worry (it being such a secular country); though in my native US, I think that could be more of a problem...

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  7. Anonymous4:50 pm

    the problem with debates like this is that arguing for a sikh girl, or a member of any faith to be an excpetion to the rule is an example of positive racism, or of reverse prejudice: if there is a sweeping rule that there is no jewelery aloud and these students have agreed to adhere to this rule, alowing one girl to break free of this rule on the ground of faith is giving her rights above the others on the grounds of faith while showing prejudice to the other few hundred children who remain within the rules that say they cannot wear them.
    so take away the rule, many people say, but this isnt reality, there are school uniforms and these children agree to abide by them when they join the school. and the 'its just a bangle' rule works both ways, its just a bangle whether its a religious symbol or not, faith is just that, its faith, an internal personal thing, if it is dependant on the display of a physical material item surely they need to reconsider how strong their belifs are. are you seriously telling me that this girl will only be good if she is wearing a bangle? that she wont belive in her god/s with out it on? can her faith really be that strong if this is the case? people who enter into such debates are forgeting the real reason of the artifact in the first place, by making this material object the center of their beliefs, surely it is detracting from the strength of their personal faith in their religion? and either way, allowing her to be an ecpetion to any rule on the grounds of faith is rascism, without question, and i thought we wereand anti racism society? its one thing to ask for equality between all races, as a ground rule does, but asking to be excepted from the rule is going to far.
    i personally do not feel that ther is a need to create such a fuss over a bangle from either point, i dont feel that there is a need for such strict dress codes. but if they are in place for everyone, there should be no exceptions. however you look at it it is still racism.

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