An Australian school has denied enrolling a five-year-old Sikh boy for wearing a turban. It believed that allowing such practices would harm the uniformity maintained within the educational institution. The boy’s father, Sagardeep Singh Arora has criticized the school for taking such a decision.
Arora talked to a reputed Australian media and said that he found it quite disappointing to see that his son has been compelled to compromise his “religious practices” to acquire education in Melbourne’ Melton Christian College, or MCC. He lodged a claim with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) regarding the matter. He said that having a common school uniform is sufficient to maintain uniformity in school. Hence, the Sikh boy doesn’t need to abandon his religious sentiments in “promoting school identity and integration.”
“Students should be able to wear their significant religious symbols and articles of faith. It’s immoral for a school to not allow students to practice their beliefs,” Arora told SBS. “We were in discussions regarding the importance of hair & turban in Sikhism and acceptance of turban as uniform by different organisations (like schools, army, and police) in Australia and the other countries,” he added. “Yet, the college has refused to review their uniform policy.”
MCC’s Justifies Sikh Boy Admission Denial
MCC provided a written response to VEOHRC regarding the Sikh boy admission event. It stated that it has maintained the “heritage of inclusiveness” where students from different religious background share same classrooms and playgrounds. “We acknowledge the disappointment that Sagardeep and his family feel. We respectfully recognize his disappointment that the uniform protocol of this school mean that non-prescribed items are not permitted to be worn in addition to the school uniform. The result is that we have agreed that college uniform will be maintained as it is, without permitting additional items,” the statement read.
In September 2008, Australian authorities made a landmark decision. A Brisbane private school was ordered to withdraw school uniform policy. This is because it demanded a Sikh boy to cut his hair and remove his turban for attending classes.