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Copyright 2014 by Attorney Carlos Gamino
Religious freedom is a guaranteed right in this country; in fact, that’s part of what makes it great. However, where do we draw the line between religious freedoms and religious advantages?
National news attention was drawn to Auburn, Washington in October because a child at Gildo Rey Elementary school is being allowed to carry a Kirpan, a small knife that’s an intrinsic part of his family’s Sikh faith.
“For the people who are formally initiated to the Kirpan, it’s very near-and-dear,” said Jaswinder Singh, the spokesman for the Gurudwara Sikh Center in Seattle. “People will even wear it in the shower. It’s kind-of hard for others to understand.”
The district argues that it’s fine for the elementary-schooler to carry the small dagger to school. Assistant superintendent Ryan Foster said, “The knife can’t come out. It can’t be shown around. It needs to be underneath their clothing,” to defend the district’s choice.
Students and teachers in the district have been bringing Kirpans to school for years, the district claims, and without incident.
But does that make it okay?
The district boasts a zero-tolerance policy on weapons, which is what makes this decision a little bit odd. People who oppose allowing kids (and staff) to carry Kirpans to school note that it wouldn’t be allowed on a plane and question why it should be allowed in schools.
What Do You Think?
I’d love to hear your take on whether this is religious freedom or religious advantage. Share your thoughts here, in the comments, or on my Facebook page. Carlos Gamino is a parent, and he’s always watching the news when it pertains to kids. Sometimes decisions arise in other states that can affect the rest of us – such as the case in Auburn, Washington, where children are allowed to carry religious articles that can double as weapons.
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Should Religious Knives Be Legal on Public School Property?
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