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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Members of a Michigan Sikh community are upset after a student was banned from bringing a religious sword to a public school.

The incident occurred at Bentley Elementary School in Canton when a fourth grader was caught wearing a small saber underneath his clothing, reports MyFoxDetriot.

The sabre, called a Kirpan, symbolizes Sikhs' efforts to ward off evils and followers say it poses no danger to the community. Any person who has been baptized into the faith -- the world’s fifth largest religion -- is expected to carry the saber all the time.

“It’s a religious symbol,” Sikh leader Teikiran Singh told WJBK-TV, disputing the notion that it was a weapon.

“It just reminds you of your spirituality. It’s a fight against your internal evils.”

The saber was discovered after an unidentified Sikh student and another student were reportedly roughhousing on the playground. The principal initially allowed the child to keep the sword but the Plymouth-Canton School District later determined the religious symbol resembled a weapon and was officially banned.

Parents, many of whom did not want to be identified, agreed with the ban.

“It should stay home, in my opinion,” one parent told the Detroit Fox affiliate.

Another said, “If it’s somebody’s religion, I would wonder if there’s a reason or purpose for them to have to have it at school.”

But Singh stressed that no one is in danger. “Equal damage could be done with a fork or with a butter knife,” he said.

“Every kid has a pair of scissors, a pencil.” Sikh leaders are hoping to meet with school officials and work out a compromise that will allow their children to practice their faith.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/01/07/michigan-sikhs-want-religious-swords-school/#ixzz1AO3C16at

Admin note: The inflammatory language in the title "want swords in schools" and incorrect references to kirpan (sabre, sword) is typical of the style for most FOX News Network