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USA Detroit: Kirpan Fuels Safety Fears in Parents

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by kds1980, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/137258/detroit-kirpan-fuels-safety-fears-in-parents.html

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    I saw this News on CNN IBN today. Is it Indian media that is raising this issue
    or Parents in Detroit is actually worried about Kirpan?
     
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  3. spnadmin

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    Kanwardeep ji

    This is a very interesting story. I am wondering if there is any possibility of getting a print version of it rather than video. Here is why. It is regional news for the Detroit Michigan area and is not covered in the area where I am, nor would it be likely to be found in a paper with national reach like the New York Times or the Christian Science Monitor.

    I have 3 sketchy ideas about this. But I need more background.

    1. The mother is a publicity seeker. Do not laugh. There is a subculture of women in the US who are neurotically attached to their children - the term is in-meshed. She may have her own religious issues that we don't know about. Here the issue is kirpan. Some other time another issue would suffice. She has taken on the "seva" of getting kirpan banned - but for her own emotional reasons. She won't back off easily.

    2. The School District needs to do more in the way of educating community. There is a huge Asian population in the Detroit area, including many Sikhs. It appears that some are carrying a kirpan in school, and they should be doing so, but only legally. So the education of the community was not sufficient. (Keep in mind however that under theory 1, no amount of education will be sufficient. )

    3. The crime rate in Detroit is very high, among the highest in the US and the public schools are violent places. You saw the sign for Strip Orders at the front of the school in the videos. Schools are permitted to conduct searches if they suspect illegal weapons are being carried. Her fears may be justified if there was an incident of a gang war and the kirpan was used incorrectly. This however looks like some one saw something in an elementary school situation, though I could be wrong.

    There have been several cases here in the US at the state level that decided a kirpan may be carried, with restrictions. The big one at the end of the video is most likely not what the little boy saw, and it was pictured simply to get the public agitated. That would be theory number 4: The US media at it again as their most irresponsible selves, stirring hysteria, when they could be providing insight.

    Judging from the video my favorite theory is number 1, because that woman had the look of a person on a mission. The kirpan is permitted and I think she is looking for her moment in history. So keep us posted.
     
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  4. Archived_Member16

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    Posted previously:
    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/united-states/33546-boy-brings-religious-dagger-to-class.html

    UPDATE:
    Plymouth-Canton will allow fourth-grader to wear religious dagger

    Bentley Elementary School fourth-grader will be allowed to continue wearing a religious emblem, despite its resemblance to a weapon, while Plymouth-Canton Community Schools administrators determine an appropriate course of action, probably later this week.

    The decision was made late in the week after Bentley principal Jerry Meier examined the Kirpan, a Sikh ceremonial dagger and determined it didn’t pose a threat to other students.

    The unidentified fourth-grader was caught wearing the emblem, a Kirpan, after other students noticed it while playing during recess. According to district officials, Meier examined the Kirpan, determined it has no sharp edges and allowed the boy to continue wearing it.

    The boys’ family told Meier that when someone is baptized into the Sikh religion, they’re ordered to wear the Kirpan at all times as a showing of faith, not as a weapon. The boy was wearing it on a long chain around his neck, covered comletely by his clothing, according to Frank Ruggirello, the district’s director of community relations.

    According to the Sikh religion, the Kirpan is a symbolic symbol meant to prevent violence and defend the defenseless.

    "(Meier) examined it closely, and it has nothing sharp," Ruggirello said. "We’re going to reach out to religious experts and talk to our attorneys and determine the best way to handle the situation to satisfy everyone."

    Ruggirello said so far, only one parent has called to lodge a complaint. That parent, Tina Barbee, whose son is a student at Bentley, told a local television station Friday her concern is the safety of her child.

    "What if someone takes this away from this child and decides to hurt someone?" Barbee told WDIV Friday. "Who’s to say that all Sikh children are stable?"

    Ruggirello acknowledged the district has a zero-tolerance policy on bringing weapons to school. However, he said, officials don’t recognize the Kirpan as a weapon and so the boy will be allowed to return to class wearing the Kirpan.

    Ruggirello said that, while Barbee was the only parent to complain formally as of Saturday morning, the district would reach out to all parents in the district to apprise them of the siutation.

    bkadrich@hometownlife.com | (313) 222-8899

    source: http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20101211/NEWS03/101211010/Plymouth-Canton-will-allow-fourth-grader-to-wear-religious-dagger
     
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  5. spnadmin

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    Soul_jyot ji

    I am more convinced now of theory number 1 - because how did the TV cameras get called in on this in the first place? Having worked in public schools, I would wager that the school officials have already spoken to the mother, explained the kirpan and their legal obligations, and she was not satisfied and took things a step further.

    As I said earlier, there are many Sikhs in the Detroit area, and for that reason it is unlikely that the issues surrounding kirpan are an X factor for the public schools. From this article it seems that the school district has a basic understanding of the kirpan and enough sense to seek legal advice before making a final determination. It will be interesting to follow the story.

    Thanks for so quickly finding the article!

    P/S This is what I mean about an irresponsible press. The headline says "fuels fear" in "parents" which is plural. Both the article and the video have one parent, singular. Is this a widespread fear? Or are we reading about only one parent? It will become more widespread thanks to the media, who is doing the "fueling of fear" .
     
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  6. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    One of the question that mother has raised is actually correct. Even on Forums Sikhs are not able to control their emotions in petty debates then how could we expect 10-12 year old kids to control their emotions and not to use kirpan. I to still unable to answer this question whether kids should be allowed to wear kirpan or not. On one hand I want Practicing Sikh kids to wear kirpan but on another hand I do have a fear that many sikh kids
    could misuse it.
     
    #5 kds1980, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2010
  7. Archived_Member16

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    For information purposes:

    Sikh Reht Maryada
    Section Six - Chapter XII - article XXIII - section (d) states:

    (d) Any man or woman of any country, religion or cast who embraces Sikhism and solemnly undertakes to abide by its principles is entitled to ambrosial baptism.

    The person to be baptized should not be of very young age; he or she should have attained a plausible degree of discretion.
    ------------------------------------------------------​
    ( p ) After this, one from amongst the five beloved ones should explain to the initiates the discipline of the order : * Today you are reborn in the true Guru's household, ending the cycle of migration, and joined the Khalsa Panth (order). *Your spiritual father is now Guru Gobind Singh and spiritual mother, Mata Sahib Kaur. *Your place of birth is Kesgarh Sahib and your native place is Anandpur Sahib. You, being the sons of one father, are, inter-se yourselves and other baptised Sikhs, spiritual brothers. You have become the pure Khalsa, having renounced your previous lineage, professional background, calling (occupation), beliefs, that is, having given up all connections with your caste, descent, birth, country, religion, etc. You are to worship none except the One Timeless Being (Waheguru) no God, Goddess, incarnation or prophet. You are not to think of anyone except the ten Gurus and anything except their gospel as your saviour. You are supposed to know Gurmukhi (Punjabi alphabet). (If you do not, you must learn it). And recite, or listen in to the recitation of, the under mentioned scriptural compositions, the daily repetition of which is ordained, every day ( 1 ) The Japuji Sahib, (2) The Jaap Sahib, (3) The Ten Sawayyas (Quartrains), beginning "sarawag sudh", (4) The Sodar Rahiras and the Sohila. Besides, you should read from or listen in to the recitation from the Guru Granth Sahib . Have, on your person, all the time, the five K's :

    I. The Keshas (unshorn hair),
    II. The Kirpan {sheathed sword} (The length of the sword to be worn is not prescribed.,
    III. The Kachhehra (The Kachhehra (drawers like garment) may be made from any cloth, but its legs should not reach down to below the shins.),
    IV. The Kanga (comb),
    V. The Karha {steel bracelet} (The Karha should be of pure steel.)

    The undermentioned four transgressions (tabooed practices) must be avoided
    1. Dishonouring the hair;
    2. Eating the meat of an animal slaughtered the Muslim way;
    3. Cohabiting with a person other than one's spouse;
    4. Using tobacco.

    In the event of the commission of any of these transgressions, the transgressor must get baptised again. If a transgression is committed unintentionally and unknowingly, the transgressor shall not be liable to punishment. You must not associate with a Sikh who had uncut hair earlier and has cut it or a Sikh who smokes. You must ever be ready for the service of the Panth and of the Gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship). You must tender one tenth (Daswand) of your earnings to the Guru.

    In short, you must act the Guru's way in all spheres of activity.

    You must remain fully aligned to the Khalsa brotherhood in accordance with the principles of the Khalsa faith. If you commit transgression of the Khalsa discipline, you must present yourself before the congregation and beg pardon, accepting whatever punishment is awarded. You must also resolve to remain watchful against defaults in the future.
     
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  8. spnadmin

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    The matter has already been decided in 5 different US court jurisdictions. School children may carry kirpan with restrictions. So far the matter has raised no alarms. The child was not carrying a butcher knife but a small kirpan, with smooth edges, on a chain around his neck, under his sweater. All of this falls within the limits set by US courts. There was respect for the rule of law on the part of the student, his family, and the school.

    When there are transgressions, the idea is to go back to the drawing board and make it work under different circumstances. What I am disputing is whether there is mass fear the way the news makes it look. When you read on you see that the school officials are not only aware of the issues but they have implemented policies that are consistent with the law.

    Another issue to raise is whether any incidents of children in schools have used the kirpan wrongly. What happens on the Internet, and on the streets outside of Gurdwaras, is shameful because the adults have less self-discipline than the kids do in the real world.
     
  9. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    This news is only shown CNN IBN.there is no print media story regarding this neither other Tv channels are showing this news.I guess CNN IBN have borrowed this news from CNN USA so only those who are watching CNN in USA can tell what exactly they are showing
     
  10. Hardip Singh

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    Dear SPNers,
    All the above posts were for the problem we are facing in US schools. But what about our own India where we had a lot of liberty regarding these religious matters.
    On last Nov 25th , myself and my wife were at Delhi's IGI airport to take our flight to Patna for a pilgramage to Takahat Patna Sahib. We both are Amritdharis and we do wear Kirpan as required for all Amritdhari Sikhs. During security checks they stopped both of us and asked us to remove these kirpans and store them in our booked lugage. I was traveling by air after a long time and never knew this new security requirement. We had to remove our Kirpans and put those in the booked bagage. Now, what you will say for this situation. Are, we both have become kurahette or we have to ask for forgiveness everytime we travel by air.
     
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  11. spnadmin

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    Hardip Singh ji

    IMHO you are not kurahit, but should still quiet your concerns through a discussion with panj pyaare because in that discussion it may be possible as a group, even with sangat, to talk to officials and see whether something different can be done in the future.

    But we do all have to keep in mind that the cases of terrorism that have been stopped gur prasaad are nonetheless on the increase. Every nation has to consider itself a real target. And that is why you have these restrictions. The 4 jets that were involved in 9/11 were taken over by men with box cutters only. That is a small tool, but a sharp weapon. Typically a kirpan is smooth. So the discussion needs to be one that educates authorities in a way where they are able to work out a policy based on the positives.
     
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  12. Archived_Member16

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    Boy agrees to remove religious dagger


    By Brad Kadrich • OBSERVER STAFF WRITER •
    December 16, 2010

    A Bentley Elementary School fourth-grader and his family have agreed to remove a religious item normally required to be worn by their Sikh religion until Plymouth-Canton Community Schools officials can figure out the best way — legally and otherwise — to handle it.

    The boy was found last week wearing a Kirpan, a dagger-like instrument meant to prevent violence and defend the defenseless, while playing with classmates during recess last week. The presence of the dagger was reported to school officials, and Bentley principal Jerry Meier examined the Kirpan. He determined the boy could continue wearing it after his examination revealed no sharp edges.

    At least one classmate reported the incident to his parents, who raised the issue with school officials. After lengthy discussions between district officials and the family, the boy agreed not to wear the Kirpan until the issue was settled.

    The boys' family told Meier that when someone is baptized into the Sikh religion, they're ordered to wear the Kirpan at all times as a showing of faith, not as a weapon. The boy was wearing it on a long chain around his neck, covered completely by his clothing, according to Frank Ruggirello, the district's director of community relations.

    According to the Sikh religion, the Kirpan is symbolic, and its meaning is to prevent violence and defend the defenseless.

    "(Meier) examined it closely, and it has nothing sharp," said Frank Ruggirello, the district's director of community relations. "We're reaching out to religious experts and talking to our attorneys and determine the best way to handle the situation to satisfy everyone."

    Canton resident Tina Barbee, whose son reported the presence of the Kirpan, was distressed the district was originally going to let the student continue wearing the Kirpan, which she considers a weapon.

    "What if someone takes this away from this child and decides to hurt someone?" Barbee told WDIV Friday. "Who's to say that all Sikh children are stable? If there were just one style of kirpan, and it was small and blunt, and it was the only one that's available, I'd say let's consider making an exception to the rule.

    "But when I went online and see the variety of Kirpans available, and I have a kid starting high school next year, and it scares me."

    Ruggirello acknowledged the district has a zero-tolerance policy on bringing weapons to school. However, he said, officials don't recognize the Kirpan as a weapon and so the boy will be allowed to return to class wearing the Kirpan.

    Ruggirello said that, while Barbee was the only parent to complain formally as of Saturday morning, the district would reach out to all parents in the district to apprise them of the situation.


    Source: http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20101216/NEWS15/12160574/1032/Boy+agrees+to+remove+religious+dagger
     
  13. spnadmin

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    and........ when each one makes an effort to be rational, patient, open-minded and aware of the feelings and predicaments of the other, problems are solved in a rational and patient and open-minded and socially aware way.... and everyone preserves his dignity in the process, and safeguards the dignity of the other. What a fine story to read to these eyes which have come to expect all-out hostility.
     
  14. Archived_Member16

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    <TABLE border=0 width="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD align=left>December 17, 2010</TD><TD align=right>http://detnews.com/article/20101217/SCHOOLS/12170357</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    School district bans religious symbols resembling weapons

    STEVE PARDO
    The Detroit News

    Plymouth— An incident involving a religious Indian short sword worn by a fourth-grader has prompted the Plymouth-Canton School District to create a policy banning items that resemble weapons.

    In a carefully worded letter sent home to parents Thursday, school officials said they value "the right of all students to practice their religion and wear religious symbols," but that any religious emblems that resemble a weapon are now "strictly prohibited."

    The issue involving the kirpan, a Sikh religious artifact, arose last week when the fourth-grade student and another student at Bentley Elementary were roughhousing on the playground, said Frank Ruggirello, Plymouth-Canton spokesman.

    The second student felt the kirpan and asked what it was. The student who was wearing the 3- to 5-inch item around his neck explained he received it when he was baptized.

    School officials examined the item, saw it didn't have any sharp edges and gave it back to the student, said Kenneth Jacobs, deputy superintendent of the district.
     
  15. spnadmin

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    American press

    :disguestedkudi:

    ...religious Indian short sword

    ....3- to 5-inch item


    :thinkingkudi:

    public pressure swordfight
     
  16. spnadmin

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    Religious item will be banned, for now, from Plymouth-Canton Schools


    Plymouth-Canton School District officials have barred the wearing of a kirpan – a small blunt-edged replica of a sword – by students who are baptized Sikhs.

    On Dec. 9, a fourth-grade boy at Bentley Elementary was playing with others on the playground when the kirpan fell from under his clothes. Sikhs generally wear this item under their clothes, either wrapped in a cloth at the waist or suspended by a chain worn around the neck.

    School district policy bars items that look like weapons.

    School Principal Jerry Meier was notified and met with the boy, his parents and other parents and at that time it was determined the boy could continue wearing the kirpan until school district officials met with lawyers.

    The district released its decision to bar the wearing of kirpans in a letter, signed by Deputy Superintendent Kenneth Jacobs, being sent today to parents, along with a statement that school officials will not be interviewed by the media on this issue. The letter states that school officials continue to work with members of the Sikh faith on finding an appropriate compromise.

    "Until such time as a compromise is reached, any and all religious emblems that resemble a weapon are strictly prohibited," the letter reads. "If and when a solution is discovered, P-CCS officials will again communicate with its parents and community."

    Tejkiran Singh, a member of Gurdwara Sahib Singh Sabha, the Sikh house of worship in Canton, said he has been working with the family and school officials. He said he was not aware of the letter, but will continue working with school officials.

    "(Meier) has taken a lot of initiative to get educated about this and we really appreciate his efforts," Singh said.

    What the decision means for the boy, he said, is that he will have to pray more and possibly fast.

    Each Sikh who has been baptized agrees to wear five items as reminders of God's will. The kirpan represents a commitment to peace and the fearless defense of the weak.

    "It means you can't do anything bad," Singh said. "If someone is going to do any bad thing, you don't need a kirpan. All you need is a butter knife, that's longer and sharper, or scissors … If someone had bad intentions there are more avenues available than this."

    Singh praised Meier for seeking a compromise that would have allowed the student to leave the kirpan in Meier's office during the school day.

    "God bless him, he's an outstanding person … but we don't want to cause him any more trouble," Singh said, so the boy will leave the kirpan at home.

    "It is our faith. We love it. Whatever it takes we will do it," he said. "This kid is going to feel bad. Once you get baptized, you have a passion to do what you've promised the Lord. He might wake up an hour early to do the prayers. It depends on the parents and the kids."

    http://plymouth-mi.patch.com/article...canton-schools
     

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