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Should Sikh school pupils be allowed to carry ceremonial daggers?

Sir Mota Singh, Britain’s first Asian judge has defended the right for Sikhs to wear the Kirpan to school and in other public places. The Kirpan is an article of faith that Sikhs must have with them at all times. While the daggers are exempt from laws banning the carrying of knives in public places it is reasonable that schools might worry about them being carried and they decide the uniform regulations themselves.

All the Yes points:

  1. We are violating their right to an education.
  2. Fuelling an atmosphere of religious and cultural tension in Britain.
  3. Anything from a sharpened pencil to cutlery in the cafeteria can be used as a fatal weapon
  4. fuels discontent between religions

All the No points:

  1. It is a potential weapon.
  2. A symbol doesn’t have to be literal.
  3. Respecting the ‘rituals’ of the school.
  4. Diminishing order.
  5. This is why people are voting BNP.

We are violating their right to an education.

Yes because…

A Sikh’s belief means that they have to have the Kirpan with them at all times. If it is not permitted in school, they cannot go to school. Creating a condition where it is impossible for a child to go to school is the same as violating their fundamental right to an education.

There should not be a situation in which you have to choose between the tenets of your faith and ultimately the foundations of your identity as a person or your right to education. You cannot compromise on your own identity – you can’t only half be you. Neither can you have only half a faith in your religion.

No because…

A right is not applicable if it has been deliberately waived, such as a criminal waiving their right to freedom by committing their crime. By choosing to live by rules that go directly against school rules, they have been as much party to preventing themselves from going to school as the school has. The child has been offered compromise in the form of a replica Kirpan and refused to accept it.

Fuelling an atmosphere of religious and cultural tension in Britain.

Yes because…

The last thing Britain needs is more religious and cultural tension. We already have conflict with ethnic minorities because of increasingly restrictive immigration laws, the rise of the BNP, generally poor conditions on the housing estates where refugees and asylum seekers with low incomes are forced to live, unjust wars in their homelands that we have been a party to etc. Now we are failing to even negotiate with children by stopping Muslims wearing hijabs, and now Sikhs wearing Kara bangles and Kirpans. No matter who is in the right, Britain will be destabilised and ultimately destroyed by the resulting conflicts unless we maintain order by calming everyone down.

No because…

Giving in to unreasonable demands can create as much disorder and tension as being overly strict.

Anything from a sharpened pencil to cutlery in the cafeteria can be used as a fatal weapon

Yes because…

From a security standpoint, nothing should be permitted in schools.

Shoes can be used to beat people, what with martial arts trends taught to children even human hands can be used as effective death machines. A sharpened poked into the jugular vein causes fatal injury.

When Britain banned guns, (kitchen)knife crime escalated, banning knives can mean the escalation of pencilcrime and so on; it`s not a cycle that can really be stopped. Take pencils away and there will be a significant rise in people injuring/killing each other with their bare hands(and they do).


And the concerns are baseless since this particular kind of knife has not been used in any reported crime.

Canada ruled for this and maybe Britain should too.

No because…

But pencils are used in schools,just as books and bats are.

The point of the school-uniform is for all kids to dress alike: to be unified as one student body. Unlike all other potential weapons in the school the Kirpan serves no purpose except to distinguish a Sikh from the rest of the student body as if colouring/ethnicity/the-turban weren`t problematic enough.

Propping your Sikh child up for bullies(and bullies are a big realistic part of today’s culture) with a sacred “Knife“ is asking for trouble not just for other students but primarily for the child;himself.

And what if the/a child sits on the knife?

Can he handle-the-knife?

Is he supposed to be on the constant lookout for bullies making swipes at his knife instead of concentrating on studies;which is why he is at school,right?

Bottom line:
Even if a child can be trusted with the knife/Kirpan(which is strange/arduous to postulate/fathom/digest; can school-thieves/bullies be trusted with it? I think not.

fuels discontent between religions

Yes because…

We allow the hijab, burkhas, yamakas, turbans, rosaries, tajs, fezes, doppas, kufis, etc.
It is ridiculous that we would ban this when we allow every one else to have personal items to express their beliefs. How does this help the relationships between religions when every one else can have these items but we will deny the sikhs this. This says to the sikhs well they can express their beliefs, but you can not. Banning the kirpan will no doubt create bad feelings between sikhs and other religions.

No because…

Pupils should not be ‘allowed’ to carry potentially dangerous items into school, regardless of what other religious items are currently allowed. This seems like only common sense to me.
Perhaps all religious items should be banned, if people are going to feel aggrieved.

It is a potential weapon.

No because…

It isn’t just a matter of adhering to school uniform policies. Knives have been banned from schools to combat the very real threat of knife crime. Even though a Sikh will not actually attack someone with their ceremonial weapon, it presents other dangers. Another child could get hold of the weapon, other children might misunderstand and start bringing their own knives because they feel cheated that the Sikh children are allowed knives while they aren’t, or feel threatened by themselves not having weapons while other people do. It is not a rule that will work if there are any exceptions made. The presence of a weapon, even if it is not used, creates an atmosphere of tension and hostility.

Yes because…

What counts as a potential weapon? A disabled child’s crutches could be swiped off her/him and used to hit someone over the head with.No more sports(let`s not forget how lethal balls and bats can be).

Children can potentially attack each other with sharpened pencils and scissors and we can’t remove these from the classroom.

A Kirpan is not going to be used as a weapon and a Sikh child is neither going to willingly part with his Kirpan or attack someone with it.

It is no more a weapon than anything else in the classroom that isn’t meant to be a weapon but conceivably could be used as one.(while other things such as baseball bats/sharpened-pencils/guns/bombs/kitchen-knives have reportedly been used as weapons, Kirpans have not.)

It would be more useful to have responsible adults in a school who can control a class and protect vulnerable children. And adults to supervise these adults since attacks by and on teachers are fairly common.

A symbol doesn’t have to be literal.

No because…

The symbol of the Kirpan means that Sikhs are permitted to use force in self-defence. It would not be appropriate in British society today to actually draw a knife to defend yourself in the middle of a street or classroom, it would be more practical if you were taught other means. A replica Kirpan that has the blade welded to the sheath would be just as effective as a symbol for the beliefs you wish to express. It would also not diminish your standing in your community if everyone was aware that it was necessary to go to school and that a full Sikh would also be given the replica.

Yes because…

The same could be said about many school rules. Why should a child follow school rules to the letter if he isn’t harming anyone, his grades are good and he can demonstrate that he understands and respects the school as an institution?

Respecting the ‘rituals’ of the school.

No because…

If the school respects the Sikh customs, they must respect the customs of the school. School rules aren’t arbitrary laws, they are there to protect children, to make a school an effective learning environment and to symbolise the school as an institution, a place of learning, a highly important part of life and a significant place in a local community. Therefore, the two must understand each other’s equal importance and make a compromise.

Yes because…

This is impossible when(as reflected in the no-argument of this case) the rituals of the school are not the same as the rituals of the Sikh religion.

The rituals of the school are not as old nor as sacred as that of the Sikh religion nor the constitution which puts religion before/above the rules of any particular school.

However, all of that is irrelevant since the/a school did not ban the traditional knife, a concerned parent filed a lawsuit.

Sum up: there is no ritual violation , only a concerned parent who is obviously not Sikh and prejudiced because of his/her own perception of how knives are being used in his/her religion/community/society.

There is no reported incidence of this type/kind of knife being used by students in a violent context in Britain or anywhere-else.

Diminishing order.

No because…

School rules need to have exceptions in relevant circumstances – if a child absolutely cannot follow a rule because of a disability, health condition, financial circumstances, distance from the school etc. Religious and other cultural requirements are considered a relevant exception. However, granting these exemptions needs to be a process we have strict control over and we should hand them out sparingly and only with thorough checks. Every time we grant an exception to a rule, it diminishes the rule, which then diminishes order within the school. Allowing a potential weapon to be carried in class is quite a major exception to the rules and therefore a bigger threat to the overall structure of order within the school. We need to think whether a school can take this much disruption.

Yes because…

An order with strong foundations does not collapse if it takes damage. That schools are currently in a disorganised and unruly state should not be blamed upon Sikh children, it was a problem before they enrolled and is the fault of the management and the Government who do not make good enough educational policies or allow schools enough funding.

This is why people are voting BNP.

No because…

People wonder why so many people are voting BNP… because of stories like this. This drastically racial tension. This brings out the racially intolerant side of ALL human beings. If they want us to be all Liberal voters and peace makers, abide out laws, speak our language, get a job, and not commit a crime.

Yes because…

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6 years ago

Despite what I just said, there are problems with carrying it. But I think that if whoever is carrying the Kirpan keeps it safely tucked away inside their clothes and doesn’t take it out, it should be allowed.

6 years ago

But James, it is not essential for you to bring in a 12th century templar sword, but it is for a Sikh to carry a Kirpan. We should try to be as fair as possible.

7 years ago

Absolutely, without question. I believe everyone should carry a blade on their person at all times, the question should be whether people have the right not to do so, not whether people should have the right to do so. We evolved with them to the point that we can’t survive without a blade, a knife is a part of a human body as much as one’s brain, or liver, without one you’re not actually fully human.

7 years ago

If the sikhs are allowed to bring bladed weapons to school, you should allow for other religions too. If they’re allowed to bring their kirpans as a sikh, then let me bring my 12th century templar sword as a CHRISTIAN. Fair is fair. Can’t just give privilege to one religious group and not the other.

4 years ago
Reply to  James

but the thing is for christian people your god didn’t say to carry the “weapon” around, Unlike our ones did and the fact it is a Religious thing. A the fact that it is one of our 5k’s and we are talking about a small ‘knife’ not a sword, okay. And its not a privilege its a right. You need to keep your racist comments away from a fourteen year old like me. And if you are that arrogant with your thinking then go and search up the history.

3 years ago
Reply to  Jasskiran

Can I just say that the ‘right’ should belong to everyone? I am not saying that u leave the kirpans but rather, everyone should be allowed knifes and stuff.

Leon Pratt
7 years ago

NO, there should be NO EXEMPTION FROM NATIONAL LAWS FOR ANYONE FOR ANYTHING AT ANY TIME. Anything else is descrimination by inclusion or prevention.

6 years ago
Reply to  Leon Pratt

When those laws are made with a christian majority in mind then what about other’s

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