Parents up in arms after six-year-old girl wears ceremonial Sikh "sword" to Redscope Primary School

By Michael Upton | 17/05/2019

Parents up in arms after six-year-old girl wears ceremonial Sikh 'sword' to Redscope Primary School

A HEADTEACHER banned a six-year-old girl found carrying a ceremonial religious sword from bringing it to school after complaints from parents.

Paula Dobbin, head of Redscope Primary in Kimberworth Park, spoke out to reassure parents who kept their children at home over safety fears about a Sikh kirpan spotted being carried by a Year 1 pupil.

The discovery of what the head called a “small, blunt miniature sword” sparked an outcry on social media, and police said they were investigating some of the comments made as possible hate crimes.

One parent stormed: “I’m sorry but, religion or not, a child’s health and safety comes first.”

Another said: “Most girls aren’t allowed to wear make-up in school, never mind carry a weapon.”

In a letter home to parents, the head added that the kirpan was “a religious ornament” worn by Sikhs.

Ms Dobbin said: “The item is not sharp, and is often worn in schools by children of the Sikh faith nationwide.

“However, having spoken to the parents of the child concerned, they have agreed that the child will no longer wear this item in school. 

“The family are new to school and want to be part of the Redscope family. 

“They are keen their daughter is able to make friends and be part out of our school community.”

Ms Dobbin added: “Concerns have been circulating on social media around this issue, which has caused a number of you to delay bringing your children into school today [Tuesday].

“I reassure you there is no reason for you not to bring your children to school.”

Police said they had been told about the situation, which reportedly sparked “race-related hate” comments on social media.

A spokeswoman said: “Police are aware that a religious kirpan was brought into the school by a six-year-old pupil.  

“Local neighbourhood officers continue to work closely with the school, providing advice and reassurance and talking to parents. 

“There are no wider safeguarding concerns and no crime has been reported.

“A number of comments on social media have been reported to us as race-related hate crime, following this situation. 

“South Yorkshire Police would like to remind the public that hate crime of any kind is not tolerated. An investigation into the comments is underway.”

A kirpan is a sword or small dagger — typically 8cm — carried by Sikhs as a symbol of their faith.

A religious commandment given by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 demanded that Sikhs must wear five articles of faith at all times, one of which is the kirpan.


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