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British schools bans the Cross

While Sikh students are allowed to carry the kirpan, wearing the cross has been disallowed.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2005 21:18 IST
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In a bizarre decision, a school in Britain has banned students from wearing crucifix and sent back home a teenager who refused to oblige even as it allowed Sikh boys to carry kirpan to the institution.

Sixteen-year-old Sam Morris was told by Howard Jones, deputy head of Sinfin Community School in Derby, that the tiny gold cross she has worn around her neck for three years was not a symbol of her faith, but nothing more than a trinket.

Sam who is studying for her GCSE, equivalent to the SSC in India, missed two days' classes after being sent home when she refused to remove the crucifix and chain she was wearing.

The decision was condemned as "crazy" as Sikh students at the school were allowed to carry kirpan and wear traditional metal bracelets and karas because they were classified as religious symbols after relaxing the Offensive Weapons Act.

"Most of our students understand allowing Sikhs to wear a bracelet is compulsory part of their religion. Christianity does not require followers to wear a specific symbol," Jones said. The only non-Sikh items allowed were inexpensive watches and small pairs of stud-style earrings.

Meanwhile the Derby City Council said that it was lawful to ban crucifixes. "But whether it is desirable is another matter. For some people a crucifix could be a deeply religious gesture, which is why personal needs should be taken into account."

Sam's mother Debra Saunders accused officials of risking creating racial tensions by failing to apply the same ban to all groups. She said her daughter believed in God and should therefore be allowed to wear a symbol of Christianity.