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(NEW SOUTH WALES) Dept Of Education Report: Students in NSW will no longer be banned from bringing knives to schools on religious grounds, after a snap decision by the DOE was reversed #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.13: A 14-year-old boy continues to face serious charges after he stabbed the 16-year-old boy with a kirpan, a Sikh religious knife, at Glenwood High School in May…

#AceDailyNews says that religious knives known as kirpans to be allowed in NSW schools after ban reversed and the was made after a 16-year-old was stabbed in the back and stomach in Sydney’s north west by a miniature religious knife after a fight broke out three months ago.

The kirpan is a ceremonial dagger baptised Sikhs carry to symbolise their duty to stand up against injustice: The case remains before the courts.

The NSW Gurdwara Working Group, made up of representatives from Sydney Sikh temples,  said the decision to reverse the ban was not a “win” for the religious group, but it was thankful for the compromise.

“A lot of work and consultation processes has been done to reach a consensus to formulate the new policy,” a spokesperson for the group said.

“It is important for Sikh students to be able to exercise their faith and the new guidelines allow this with the safety of all students put first.” 

The group confirmed that ongoing discussions were had with the Department of Education following the ban on the knives.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell decided to reverse the ban after making creating new guidelines around their use.

“The safety of students is my highest priority and our policy will always prohibit weapons at school,” Ms Mitchell said. 

“We have worked closely with community representatives, including from the Australian Sikh Association and the NSW Gurdwara Group, as well as Multicultural NSW and other government agencies, to develop these new guidelines.”

The new guidelines mean:

  • The kirpan being carried must be no bigger than 8.5 centimetres, with no sharp edges or points
  • It must be worn under clothing
  • It must be removed during sports
  • Any safety concerns must be discussed with the student and their parents or carers

The Gurdwara spokesperson said the group wanted to thank the Department of Education and community “for understanding the religious importance of kirpan and helping the faith to continue to be followed in schools but not compromising the safety for the students”..

Ms Mitchell said the decision to carry the kirpan, an important one for many Sikhs, would be discussed on an individual basis and any student who did not comply with the guidelines would face disciplinary action.

She thanked the Sikh community for its “constructive” consultation.

“[It] has meant we have been able to reach a solution that everyone is happy with quickly.”

The new guidelines will be implemented in schools from October.

#AceNewsDesk report …………Published: Aug.14: 2021:

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