School board allows kirpans in classroom
Saskatoon’s Public School Board was forced to make a decision on children wearing kirpans to school after a boy, whose family recently moved to Saskatoon, brought the ceremonial Sikh dagger into the classroom.
Avon Whittle, the board’s deputy director of education, said kids will be allowed to bring kirpans as long as they are wrapped in a heavy cloth inside a wooden sheath and sewn inside the clothing.
Whittle said the new policy mirrors the 2006 verdict reached by the Supreme Court of Canada, which found that a Quebec school board’s decision to tell a 12-year-old Sikh boy he could not wear his ceremonial dagger was an infringement of his religious freedom under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“This has been a real time of learning for us – learning about different traditions and beliefs,” said Whittle of the incident.
Although Whittle could not reveal the identity of the boy, she said his parents were very “cooperative” and “understanding” when they were asked to come in and discuss the situation.
She said other parents had expressed concern that the small dagger could potentially pose a threat to other kids.