Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Last night Newsround reported the story of Sarika Singh, a Sikh girl, who has gone to the High Court. The court will have to decide whether Sarika can wear a religious bracelet or whether the school's uniform rules must be adhered to.

Sonali: First to a huge row that's costing loads of money and involving lots of important people - and it's all about a bangle. A 14 year-old girl in South Wales has been excluded from school for wearing a bracelet which she says is important for her religion. But the school disagrees. And today the row ended up in one of the country's highest courts. Laura's got more.

Laura: (video showing Kara on a girl's arm) This is a Kara. It's a bangle worn by Sikh people to remind them of their religion and to prompt them to do good with their hands. Sarika says that hers is very important to her and that she wants to wear it all the time. But her school, Aberdare Girls' in South Wales says she can't. They have a uniform policy that says that no-one can wear any jewellery apart from stud earrings and a watch. They asked Sarika to remove her bangle. She refused, and so in November last year she was excluded.

Laura: (reporting from outside the High Court) Because they can't agree amongst themselves, today Sarika and her mum and the school came here to the High Court in London to battle it out. Inside there, Sarika and her mum will be arguing that this is all totally unfair, and that it's all damaging Sarika's education. The school, though, argues that its jewellery policy is fair for everyone.

Laura: (archive video of Shabina Begum outside court) Sarika's story is not that unusual. In the past we've reported about Muslim girls, and even a teacher who went to court because they wanted to wear veils to school. We've also reported about some Christians who've been told they can't wear special rings or crosses to class either. It's difficult because, on the whole, schools make up their own rules about uniforms, so there are bound to be disagreements. (video of Sarika arriving at court) But it's hoped that by clearing up this row in the High Court it might give everyone else a better idea of what's okay to wear to school and what's not.

This evening Laura read out some of the feedback Newsround had received:

Laura: ...This is about being able to wear any kind of religious jewellery or clothes to school. And there's been a pretty mixed reaction to this from you lot. First up Emily from Dorset reckons that kids should be allowed religious jewellery at school because it's not to look nice, it's to do with their religion. Rachel from The Wirral says she wears her crucifix all the time. "If you believe that it means something then you should be allowed to wear it," she says. But Matthew disagrees. He says he thinks the school is right because uniform is a school rule and shouldn't be broken. And Chloe says that no jewellery is allowed at her school at all. She says Sarika must have known the school rules before she started there, so why complain now.

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