Sikh Swords and Safety
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Posted 7/1/08 , edited 7/1/08
This is an article adapted from Valerie Stoker’s “Zero Tolerance? Sikh Swords, School Safety, and Secularism in Quebec,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, vol 75, no. 4, Dc 2007, pp.814-839.

“On 18 November 2001, 12-year-old Sikh student Gurbaj Singh Multani was playing outside of Montreal school, when his kirpan or ceremonial dagger dislodged from its sheath and fell to the ground. Unaware that the kirpan is an article of faith that all amrithari or “baptized,” Sikhs must wear as perpetual marker of religious identity, a concerned parent reported the incident to the school principal. The principal, in turn, invoked the school’s zero tolerance policy on weapons and sent Gurbaj home.”

“In May 2002, Judge Danielle Grenier of Quebec Superior Court issued a declaratory judgment that nullified a decision by the Marguerite Bourgeoys School Board to prohibit the kirpan. She also authorize Gurbaj to return to school with his kirpan subject to certain conditions that were intended to allay concerns about and that were agreed to by both the school the Multani family: Gurbaj would have to wrap his kirpan several times in cloth before sewing it shut inside a wooden sheath, and would have to subject it to periodic verification by school officials. The compromise on the kirpan’s sheathing resembled other kirpan decisions in other countries with large Sikh populations such as Brittan and the United States where the courts have generally found that the kirpan is not a weapon but a religious artifact, and such, should be exempted from weapons’ bans.”

In march of 2004, the Appellate Court reverse the court’s declaratory judgment, deciding “that the compromise of the kirpan’s sheathing acknowledged the kirpan’s inherent danger and thereby supported parents’ concerns that allowing Gurbaj to wear it posed an undue hardship to non-Sikh children.” The appellate Court “effectively classed the kirpan as a weapon, subject to the school’s zero-tolerance policy.”

The issue was finally resolved in March 2006 by the Supreme Court of Canada who ruled unanimously in favor of Hurbaj. “The SCC rejected the argument that the Kirpan posed threat to school safety, especially when sheathed according to the Superior Court compromise, and concluded that prohibiting the kirpan from school premises excessively infringed Gurbaj’s religious rights.”

So...opinions?! XD
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Posted 7/1/08
Although I agree with the zero tolerance policy, I think that the school made a good decision in the compromise when they had him wrap it up. Even though it seems a bit extreme, it's for everyone's safety, and it would prevent someone from taking the knife and using it against him or someone else.
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Posted 7/1/08

DreadDenimPirate wrote:

Although I agree with the zero tolerance policy, I think that the school made a good decision in the compromise when they had him wrap it up. Even though it seems a bit extreme, it's for everyone's safety, and it would prevent someone from taking the knife and using it against him or someone else.


Well, the reason I like their decision is because it’s not extreme. The extreme would’ve been simply taking his weapon away and telling him he’s not allowed to carry it. The school found a way to allow him to practice his religion without causing potential danger to his peers. It’s safe AND he’s not betraying the Khalsa. Everyone is happy, makes me feel all tingly inside!
Posted 7/1/08
If it's well covered and the school knows the ones who wield it, then I don't think it poses a problem.
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Posted 7/1/08

SeraphAlford wrote:


DreadDenimPirate wrote:

Although I agree with the zero tolerance policy, I think that the school made a good decision in the compromise when they had him wrap it up. Even though it seems a bit extreme, it's for everyone's safety, and it would prevent someone from taking the knife and using it against him or someone else.


Well, the reason I like their decision is because it’s not extreme. The extreme would’ve been simply taking his weapon away and telling him he’s not allowed to carry it. The school found a way to allow him to practice his religion without causing potential danger to his peers. It’s safe AND he’s not betraying the Khalsa. Everyone is happy, makes me feel all tingly inside!


My punctuation was screwy there... I meant the whole wrapping, sewing, locking in a box thing seemed extreme.
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Posted 7/1/08

DreadDenimPirate wrote:



My punctuation was screwy there... I meant the whole wrapping, sewing, locking in a box thing seemed extreme.


Well, that’s true. Really I’m just viewing a different spectrum. Your spectrum’s extremes are wrapping, sewing, and locking or just wrapping. My extremes are leaving the weapon unchecked or just filching it. Two different kinds of extremes, I understand.
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26 / F / Corner of No and...
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Posted 7/1/08 , edited 7/1/08
I'm glad they came to a compromise. Anything else would've just been stupid.
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Posted 7/1/08
O.O People would have been pissed about the zero tolerance policy. Would have been funny.
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25 / M / NewYork
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Posted 5/5/09
Wow nice
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26 / M / Beautiful Earth!
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Posted 5/5/09
nice!
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31 / M / Iloilo City, PH
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Posted 5/5/09
come on.. like pencils, pens and other crap can't be used to harm other kids..
Posted 5/5/09

manzi wrote:

come on.. like pencils, pens and other crap can't be used to harm other kids..


yea. even our finger and nails. We can easily poke someone's eyes out [e.g. Kill Bill] or swiftly thrust your finger to someone's neck [base of the neck] and severe a jugular vein or carotid artery.
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30 / F / Singapore
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Posted 5/5/09
That's fair I think.
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Posted 5/5/09
Should ban scissors too.
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