NSW solves ‘Kirpan’ in schools issue after consultations

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By SAT News Desk

SYDNEY, 15 August 2021: The issue of a student carrying a ‘Kirpan’ in New South Wales schools has been solved after consultations with stakeholders. The issue became hot after ‘Kirpan’ was banned in schools after allegedly “a 16-year-old was Sydney’s north west by a miniature religious knife after a fight broke out three months ago. A 14-year-old boy continues to face serious charges after he stabbed the 16-year-old boy with a kirpan, a Sikh religious knife, at Glenwood High School in May.” (abc.net.au, 13 August 2021).

An NSW Education Department media release on 6 August 2021 says, ” If a Sikh student wears a kirpan to school, the following guidelines must be followed:

The miniature kirpan is of a small size, that is 8.5cm or smaller with no sharp edges or points;
worn under clothes and secured so it cannot be used;
must be removed and safely stored, or secured against the body, when undertaking physical activity such as sport; and when reasonably asked by the school the student must verify that these guidelines are being complied with, any safety concerns will be discussed with the student and their parents or carers.”

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said knives would continue to be banned on school grounds, with new strict guidance on carrying religious items that resemble a knife.

“The safety of students is my highest priority and our policy will always prohibit weapons at school,” Ms. Mitchell said.

“When parents and carers send their children to school they expect them to learn in a safe and caring environment. We have a paramount duty to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff while they’re at school.

“We have worked closely with community representatives, including from the Australian Sikh Association and the NSW Gurdwara Group, as well as Multicultural NSW and other government agencies, to develop these new guidelines.”

Ms. Mitchell said any student that does not comply with the above rules would have their parents notified and potentially face strong disciplinary action.

“Can I also thank the Sikh community, their constructive approach has meant we have been able to reach a solution that everyone is happy with quickly,” Ms. Mitchell said.

The Minister says “knives will continue to be banned on school grounds, with the new strict guidance on carrying religious items that resemble a knife.”

There are 2,200 public schools in NSW, attended by 818,000 students. But the number of Sikh students among them is not known, nor is it known how many, if any, carry a ‘Kirpan’ to school.

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