Parents say daughter won’t carry kirpan to UK school

Thursday, 23/05/2019

LONDON: Parents of a Sikh student in a South Yorkshire school have agreed that their six-yearold daughter will not carry a ‘kirpan’ after a row that led the local police to launch an investigation into alleged race-related hate crime.

The student and parents have not been named, but Paula Dobbin, head of the Redscope Primary School in Rotherham, wrote to all parents when several students did not attend school due to concerns over the ‘kirpan’ she carried.

Dobbin explained that the ‘kirpan’ is a ‘religious ornament’ worn by Sikhs, adding: “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 is new to school and wants 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,” she said.

“Concerns about this issue caused a number of you to delay bringing your children into school. I reassure you there is no reason for you not to bring your children to school,” Dobbin added in the letter.

However, comments on social media made by some parents are now being probed by the South Yorkshire police as potential hate crimes. A police 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,” she said.

“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,” she added.

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