WSO helps resolve Edmonton high school kirpan issue

Sahib Singh Bains, third from left is pleased

Sahib Singh Bains (third from left) is pleased

The World Sikh Organization of Canada has helped Sahib Singh Bains return to high school in Edmonton after he was told his kirpan was a weapon and would not be permitted in class.

Sahib Singh, 16, is an initiated or amritdhari Sikh and wears the Sikh articles of faith including the kirpan.

Last week, a teacher noticed a bulge underneath Sahib Singh’s shirt. When confronted, he confirmed that he wears a kirpan. Sahib Singh was later approached by his school’s principal who told him that the kirpan is a restricted weapon and he would have to turn the kirpan over to him immediately.

In discussions with his principal and vice-principal, Sahib Singh was offered the option of coming to school without his kirpan or turning his kirpan over to the principal every day in the morning and taking it back after school. He was further told that because the kirpan is considered a weapon, he may be expelled if he were found wearing it during school hours.

A meeting was arranged between Sahib Singh, his family and the school’s principals. A WSO representative also attended the meeting. The principals expressed their regret at not having been aware of the significance of the kirpan or the legal duty to accommodate Sikh students and asked for forgiveness for the inconvenience caused by their actions. – CINEWS

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