In the name of religion, school district to allow students to carry concealed daggers

sikh dagger
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Zero tolerance policies for weapons aside, a school district in Washington state is allowing some students to carry concealed daggers.

In the wake of multiple stories of students being suspended from school for intimating that they have a weapon, be it a pastry bitten into the shape of a gun, or a pointed crayon accompanied with an ill-timed “pow,” one school in Auburn is permitting students of the Sikh faith to carry a kirpan, KING-TV reported.

According to tradition, baptized Sikhs are required to wear a kirpan — a small ceremonial dagger.

“The knife can’t come out,” Auburn Assistant Superintendent of Schools Ryan Foster told KING-TV. “It can’t be shown around. It needs to be underneath their clothing. That allows them to express their religion without jeopardizing anyone’s feeling of safety.”

Foster told The Seattle Times the district has a longstanding policy that allows observant Sikh students to wear the daggers under their clothing.

“It can’t create a disruption of the learning environment,” he said.

But there are some who feel safety should trump religious practice, and don’t think students should be carrying knives to school.

A school volunteer identified only as Shelby told KING-TV that she would not work at a school if she knew a student was carrying a kirpan — she does not volunteer at the school in question.

“There’s no way I’d go back until the knife was gone,” she said.

Rajdeep Singh, policy director for the New York-based Sikh Coalition, told The Times the kirpans are not as dangerous as scissors elementary school student in Auburn are required to have.

“It would be helpful to remind parents that this is not a weapon,” he said.

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Tom Tillison


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