Wednesday, November 7, 2007

British School Bans Sikh Girl From Wearing Religious Bracelet

Yet another British teen is fighting her school for the right to wear a religious piece of jewelery. Abedare Girls' School in Wales suspended 14-year-old Sarika Singh Monday after she refused to remove her kara. The kara is a slim metal bangle worn at all times to remind Sikhs not to commit sins and is a key part of that faith.

The school argues that Miss Singh's kara violates the dress code, which allows the wearing of only a wrist watch and one pair of plain metal stud earrings.

The Singh family has stated that the teen will remove the kara for safety reasons during gym and woodworking classes but that the total ban violates her right to practice her religion. "We feel very strongly that Sarika has a right to manifest her religion - she's not asking for anything big and flashy, she's not making a big fuss, she just wants a reminder of her religion."

This is reminiscent of the ruling against Lydia Playfoot back in July. Miss Playfoot is a Christian teen whose school banned her from wearing a silver chastity ring inscribed with a Bible verse.

I just don't understand why this is even an issue in Britain. It should be a no-brainer to allow students to wear small, non-distracting pieces of religious jewelery unless it creates a health or safety risk (such as in gym class). Whether it's a Sikh wearing a kara, a Protestant wearing a chastity ring, a Catholic wearing a patron saint medal, or a Jew wearing a Star of David, they all should have the right to practice their respective faiths without interference from school officials.

One more reason to be thankful that the Founding Fathers specifically included the freedom of religion in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution!

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