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Author Topic: Canadian Sikhs allowed to wear small daggers in public schools  (Read 7585 times) Average Rating: 0
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TomS
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« on: March 03, 2006, 02:11:14 PM »

How STUPID is this?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Canada backs Sikh dagger rights the country's Supreme Court has ruled.

In an 8-0 judgement, the court reversed the ruling of a Montreal school board, which banned Gurbaj Singh Multani from wearing his dagger, known as a kirpan.

The kirpan is deemed sacred by Sikhs as a symbol of power and truth.

School authorities banned the kirpan in 2001 after an objection by a parent concerned about pupil security.

Announcing the judgement, the Supreme Court said that a total ban on kirpans violated the country's Charter of Rights.

The charter guarantees total religious freedom within Canada.

Safety debate

"Religious tolerance is a very important value of Canadian society," Justice Louise Charron wrote in the judgement.

"If some students consider it unfair that Gurbaj Singh may wear his kirpan to school, it is incumbent on the schools to discharge their obligation to instil in their students this value that is... at the very foundation of our democracy."


 As a parent, is the life and safety of a child more important than religious freedom? I think so
Claude Bouchard
Quebec Federation of Parents' Committees ÂÂ

The government of Quebec had backed the Montreal school board, which imposed the ban.
Parents campaigning for tighter restrictions on weapons in school were dismayed by the ruling.

"My first reaction as a parent is a feeling of insecurity," Claude Bouchard of the Quebec Federation of Parents' Committees, told Reuters news agency.

"As a parent, is the life and safety of a child more important than religious freedom? I think so."

Old tradition

The ruling did allow some restrictions to be imposed on kirpans worn in public, including limiting their length and keeping them sheathed and worn underneath clothes.

Nevertheless, Gurbaj Singh Multani, who was 12 when he was suspended and then removed from his school, welcomed the judgement.

"Everybody stood for their rights. I got it. I'm happy," he said outside the court.

Orthodox Sikhs have been required to carry kirpans since the 17th century, and insist it is not a weapon.

About 250,000 Sikhs live in Canada, with 10% considered orthodox.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/4770744.stm
« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 02:11:47 PM by TomS » Logged
Justin Kissel
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2006, 03:08:50 PM »

Quote
Announcing the judgement, the Supreme Court said that a total ban on kirpans violated the country's Charter of Rights. The charter guarantees total religious freedom within Canada.

Apparently this "total religoius freedom" does not extend to Christians preaching from the Bible on certain controversial issues (e.g., homosexuality).
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2006, 03:13:29 PM »

Usually the kirpan nowadays is completely dull I was told while in India.  A sharp pencil picked up and used to stab would be more lethal.
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2006, 03:55:15 PM »

Usually the kirpan nowadays is completely dull I was told while in India.  A sharp pencil picked up and used to stab would be more lethal.

So then, if my religion called for it, I should be able to carry a gun to school, as long as it is loaded with non-lethal rock salt? Right?

It's a slippery slope you inhabit. A weapon is a weapon. Period. It has nothing to do with how effective it is.
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2006, 04:31:57 PM »

or the rastafari kids should get to smoke weed in the boys room, all in the name of religtious freedom (boy would there be mass conversions to rastafarianism! yikes!)
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2006, 04:49:41 PM »

Not only are the daggers dull, but they are often sewn into their sheaths so that they cannot be taken out.
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TomS
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2006, 04:59:07 PM »

Not only are the daggers dull, but they are often sewn into their sheaths so that they cannot be taken out.

Then they can carry plastic ceremonial ones.
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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2006, 05:07:48 PM »

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Then they can carry plastic ceremonial ones.

No they can't. Carrying an actual kirpan is a *requirement* for Sikhs who have been baptized into the Khalsa. It's not a symbol, it's something they are *commanded* to do. Not wearing a kirpan is tantamount to renouncing their faith. It's not something they're going to give up -- if Sikh children are prevented from wearing their kirpans to school, then Sikh children will not go to school. Thankfully the Canadian government has seen that this situation benefits nobody, and allowed Sikhs to carry kirpans.
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2006, 05:18:48 PM »

..then Sikh children will not go to school.

So be it.
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2006, 05:23:48 PM »

So then, if my religion called for it, I should be able to carry a gun to school, as long as it is loaded with non-lethal rock salt? Right?

It's a slippery slope you inhabit. A weapon is a weapon. Period. It has nothing to do with how effective it is.

The more I think about the way things are in the real world, the less I find slippery slope arguments to be convincing.  A pencil is a weapon, but it is not banned from school.  In the cafeteria of schools, once can pick up a plastic knife with a serrated edge.  A dull blade with no point and hence no function at all locked in a sheath is hardly dangerous.
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2006, 06:29:17 PM »

I know it isn't quite the same as a dager, but I know most of my classmates and I carried pocket knives to school.  It didn't turn into bringing swords or anything like that.  And the smoking of the pot does happen, in most every school, right under the radar of the teachers.  They used to smoke it at my high school, but by the time the smell was filling the hallways they were already done.
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2006, 07:01:51 PM »

So then, if my religion called for it, I should be able to carry a gun to school, as long as it is loaded with non-lethal rock salt? Right?

It's a slippery slope you inhabit. A weapon is a weapon. Period. It has nothing to do with how effective it is.

It comes down to an issue of freedom vs. safety, and whenever that question is presented we should always side with freedom. You can not replace responsibility with legislation; if the kid uses his dagger to kill someone, hang him, otherwise no harm is done.

'Wise men do not blame the knife for murder, nor wine for drunkenness, nor strength for insolence, nor courage for wrecklessness. No, they blame the men who make wrong use of the gifts of God and punish them.' -- St. John Chrysostom
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2006, 07:31:51 PM »

It comes down to an issue of freedom vs. safety, and whenever that question is presented we should always side with freedom. You can not replace responsibility with legislation; if the kid uses his dagger to kill someone, hang him, otherwise no harm is done.

'Wise men do not blame the knife for murder, nor wine for drunkenness, nor strength for insolence, nor courage for wrecklessness. No, they blame the men who make wrong use of the gifts of God and punish them.' -- St. John Chrysostom

On one hand, I'd say things are different because we are dealing with children/minors compounded with a volatile eastern religion.  On the otherhand, you have a very reasonable point....just that the "liberals" wouldn't stand for the needed harsher punishment for transgressors.

I have to say though that St. John Chrysostom quote is a real winner (in all seriousness).
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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2006, 07:53:57 PM »

You think they would be able to carry these on an airplane?

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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2006, 08:03:09 PM »

Travelling by airplane is not a necessity - I would say that educating children is.
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« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2006, 08:06:25 PM »

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On one hand, I'd say things are different because we are dealing with children/minors compounded with a volatile eastern religion.

"Volatile" Eastern religion? Sikhs are not Muslims.

Quote
You think they would be able to carry these on an airplane?

They are not, and this causes Sikhs some manner of distress. There is a difference, however, between checking a kirpan in as luggage, and having it transported with one on the same vehicle, being reunited with it once the plane lands, and being wholly without one's kirpan, as would be the case attending school without it.
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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2006, 08:16:09 PM »

Travelling by airplane is not a necessity - I would say that educating children is.

Carrying a "blade" is not a necessity. If they can;t carry them on airplanes, then they can do without them for 7 hours at school.

They should follw the example of France and ban ALL religious symbols.

... and being wholly without one's kirpan, as would be the case attending school without it.

OH! THE HORROR!!! Deal with it.
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2006, 08:18:27 PM »

By that same logic, confession isn't a necessity.  Clearly it is, in our religion, and clearly in their religion carrying a kirpan is as well.
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« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2006, 08:28:59 PM »

By that same logic, confession isn't a necessity.

Not to another human it isn't.

So WHAT if it is their religion? It is a possible danger to others.
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« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2006, 08:53:10 PM »

Quote
OH! THE HORROR!!! Deal with it.

Sikhs have chosen to die rather than give up the 5 K's. It's not something they're going to "deal with", nor should they be expected to. To willingly abandon one of the 5 K's is to abandon their faith and their vows, as serious as a Christian denying Christ.

Anyways, don't you have some billygoats to be eating?
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« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2006, 09:02:25 PM »

Sikhs have chosen to die rather than...

"Stupid is as stupid does"
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« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2006, 09:10:29 PM »

How stupid is this? VERY!

This is the west.  We dont carry side arms in to school rooms.  Have we lost our senses?  What this does is open a legal Box of worms where those who for whatever religious reasons feel the need to carry something that could be construed as a weapon for defence.  This is nuts!  Where is the sensibilities of the courts on this?  I just cant believe that this is being condoned by any lawful authorities.  We are definitely on a slippery slope to total disorder inthe classroom.  This will morph into ways not even envisioned by us now, but we will wonder how we got there when we get there.

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« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2006, 09:11:40 PM »

ALL SO WE WONT OFFEND.  HOW NOBLE?  GAG.
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« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2006, 09:31:45 PM »

So if this is required by their religion then what would be the religious consequences of a believer not wearing this dagger?  I saw this on the Canadian news last night and cracked up.  I wonder if a Sikh incarcerated in prison can walk around with his blade?  I don't think so!
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« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2006, 09:34:23 PM »

So if this is required by their religion then what would be the religious consequences of a believer not wearing this dagger?

In a strange twist on the Orthodox Holy Fire tradition, I believe that their turban will burst into flames.  Grin Cheesy
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« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2006, 09:44:43 PM »

For my final post on this topic, I give you THE expert on these types of subjects: Mr. Barney Fife and his famous quote

http://www.wavsource.com/snds_2006-02-27_114802943139276/tv/andy/nip_it3.wav

BTW you will have to copy and paste it into your address box - they don't allow linking. It's worth it.
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« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2006, 10:02:39 PM »

Tom

Quote
They should follw the example of France and ban ALL religious symbols.

What if someone is a pantheist, should globes be prohibited in schools? For that matter, what about classes on earth science!? That is explicitly teaching about a religion, even if those tricky teachers try to hide it behind the cover of "science" and "fact". And all those trips to the planetarium, we know it's really just religious indoctrination!  Grin Seriously though, at what point do you stop? Who gets to decide what a "religious symbol" is? And if the already-held, explicitly religious symbols are the ones that are banned, then what happens when a new religious symbol arises? And how many people need hold to a religion, and believe something to be a religious symbol, before it falls under the ban on all religious symbols?
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« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2006, 10:25:02 PM »

The "taking things to an extreme" argument is not an argument.
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« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2006, 10:30:20 PM »

Neither is dismissing a point out of hand, just because you consider the variables to be too extreme, a proper rebuttal Smiley You don't like the extreme examples I gave? Then answer the question using more likely possibilities. Should WWJD bracelets be banned? Crosses on necklaces? How about various wiccan and pagan symbolism that gets worn to probably every school in America every single day, but which the teachers are probably completely unaware of? Since parking lots are school property, should religious bumper stickers be banned? Statuettes? Crosses?
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« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2006, 10:36:39 PM »

Should WWJD bracelets be banned? Crosses on necklaces? How about various wiccan and pagan symbolism that gets worn to probably every school in America every single day, but which the teachers are probably completely unaware of? Since parking lots are school property, should religious bumper stickers be banned? Statuettes? Crosses?

It should be left up to each local school board.
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« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2006, 10:42:35 PM »

So if this is required by their religion then what would be the religious consequences of a believer not wearing this dagger?  I saw this on the Canadian news last night and cracked up.  I wonder if a Sikh incarcerated in prison can walk around with his blade?  I don't think so!

Dont be too sure, for in this age of relevancy a good lawyer could probably make a good case for the Sikh to wear one even in prison.  Maybe out of soap?
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« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2006, 10:46:35 PM »

Tom,

Ok, [now editing post to reflect your modified answer], that sounds fair enough (regarding the school board), but since you've obviously taken a strong stance on this issue, I think it would be nice for you to answer the part of my post that gets at the actual criteria through which you decide what to ban.

1. Who gets to decide what a "religious symbol" is?

2. Who defines religion? (e.g., some consider secular humanism and satanism religions, others don't)

3. What happens when a new "religious symbol" arises? That is to say, how many people need be adherents of a religion before you have to investigate their religious imagery?

4. How do you determine whether something is a religious symbol worthy of being banned, or only a common thing that some people happen to use for religious purposes? Are virginity rings religious? How about pro-life t-shirts? Atheists could use these things just as easily as theists.
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« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2006, 10:48:22 PM »

So if this is required by their religion then what would be the religious consequences of a believer not wearing this dagger?  I saw this on the Canadian news last night and cracked up.  I wonder if a Sikh incarcerated in prison can walk around with his blade?  I don't think so!

Are there Sikh children going to school in the lower 48?  And if so, will they follow suit?

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« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2006, 10:51:56 PM »

1. Who gets to decide what a "religious symbol" is?
2. Who defines religion? (e.g., some consider secular humanism and satanism religions, others don't)
3. What happens when a new "religious symbol" arises? That is to say, how many people need be adherents of a religion before you have to investigate their religious imagery?
4. How do you determine whether something is a religious symbol worthy of being banned, or only a common thing that some people happen to use for religious purposes? [/quote]

The School Board, or a similar elected body, makes these decisions based on input from the public.

Are virginity rings religious?
No, they are antiques.

How about pro-life t-shirts? Atheists could use these things just as easily as theists.

No, they are not religious, but they should not be allowed.

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« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2006, 10:53:27 PM »

(Can you tell I like Sikhism?)

Quote
"Stupid is as stupid does"

They've also killed for it. Sikhism is not a proselytizing religion, and does not seek to dominate other peoples like the Muslims, but they have no problem with armed resistance to injustice. Look at what happened to Indira Gandhi.

Quote
We dont carry side arms in to school rooms.

The kirpan is not a sidearm. It's a small iron sword, often blunt, kept sheathed and worn tied to the shoulder under the clothing.

Quote
So if this is required by their religion then what would be the religious consequences of a believer not wearing this dagger?

A Sikh who willingly abandons one of the K's has broken his vows to God, and must repent, make up for his wrong if necessary, and re-undergo the Amrit baptism ceremony, just as if he were a new initiate.

Quote
Are there Sikh children going to school in the lower 48?  And if so, will they follow suit?

There are hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in the US, so yes. There were several dozen at my high school alone (easily recognizable by their turbans). To my knowledge, they carry the kirpan.

(Incidentally, for those of you interested in martial arts, Sikhism has produced a truly awesome one, gatka, that's actually effective for fighting (as opposed to sport) and has been used in actual warfare -- see here for some videos of it in action.)
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« Reply #35 on: March 03, 2006, 10:56:30 PM »

Tom,

So let me see if I understand. Your basic methodology here is that you call something stupid and speak against it vehemently. Then, when pressed to explain on what principles you are basing your objections, you pass the buck to someone else and say that it is someone else who must make the decisions. Have I got that right?  Grin
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« Reply #36 on: March 03, 2006, 11:00:54 PM »

Tom,

So let me see if I understand. Your basic methodology here is that you call something stupid and speak against it vehemently. Then, when pressed to explain on what principles you are basing your objections, you pass the buck to someone else and say that it is someone else who must make the decisions. Have I got that right?  Grin

No, not at all. I was very clear on why I object to it - IT IS A WEAPON. What is confusing to you? I am quite willing to make the decision. Elect me to the board!

CALIFORNIA LAW:

Ceremonial Daggers Allowed in School

Students who are members of the Sikh religion may wear ceremonial knives ("kirpans") while attending classes in the Livingston Elementary School District. The Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court's injunction allowing the Sikh pupils to wear the "kirpans" despite Education Code provisions banning knives at school. The knives must be hidden under clothing and sewn into sheaths. The order remains in effect until the trial scheduled for October 1996, takes place. A lengthy dissent to the order was written by Judge Charles Wiggins who wrote that "the plan of accommodation, which allows 7 ,8 and 10 year-old children to carry 7-inch knives to school, compromises school safety." Cheema v. Thompson (9th Cir. 1995) 36 F.3d 1102; Order and dissent filed 8/1/95.

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« Reply #37 on: March 03, 2006, 11:24:42 PM »

What confuses me is that you don't seem to want to answer the questions I posed. Wink Since you say that you would indeed be quite willing to make the decisions if on a school board, let's suppose hypothetically that you were part of the (public) school board at Anastasios High School in Tomberry, MD. Now let's suppose that the board has appointed you to come up with criteria for determining what is and is not religious imagery, so as to avoid any perceived subjectivist bias on the part of teachers, or law suits claiming discrimination, at a later time. What guidelines would you lay out?
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« Reply #38 on: March 04, 2006, 12:09:08 AM »

Great idea about hanging the kid who uses his dagger as a weapon (you know, the disturbed one who decides to carry a sharp dagger, not sewn into the sheath and make it easily accessible in case someone gives him crap - at least in his distorted mind).

...uh....unless you are the parent of the classmate that got stabbed to death

In the US rastafaris are NOT allowed to smoke weed for religious reasons
early mormons were NOT allowed to have two wives
and I think some native american tribe got pretty p-o'd when they weren't allowed to smoke peyote

there are limits on religious freedom
what if some fringe group decided child sacrifice is now necessary?

and regarding the slippery slope, recently a mom (in the news) whose son attended an inner city school was angered that he got suspended for carrying a firearm to school because it made him "feel safe." All it would take is some quack to see a precedent in the Sikh ruling and find a way to allow kids to carry guns to school (ceremonial ones with wax bullets, sewn into the holster and worn under the clothing, of course)

How old are some of you debating this? And do you have kids?
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« Reply #39 on: March 04, 2006, 12:12:01 AM »



They should follw the example of France and ban ALL religious symbols.



SICK! SICK! SICK!
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« Reply #40 on: March 04, 2006, 12:13:01 AM »

The "taking things to an extreme" argument is not an argument.

Which your slippery slope argument was a form of.
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« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2006, 12:13:23 AM »

Catholics started their own schools
conservative protestants have carried forward that tradition
let the Sikhs start their own schools

And let the governments of both Canada and the US give every family vouchers to send their kids to the school of their choice

It's NOT gorvenment money -it's OUR money taken by the power of the state
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« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2006, 12:18:31 AM »



How old are some of you debating this? And do you have kids?

Again, a kirpan is not a weapon and cannot be used as such.  Hence, there is no comparison.  As far as age goes, don't fall into the trap of ageism.  It just doesn't work.  Some of us went to school with Sikhs that carried kirpans and we didn't feel threatened, so we could bring our personal experience to bear.  One could also argue that if you are personally invested in the issue (to use your example, one has children) that he is biased.  So really, we should argue the issue on its own merits, not play the "I'm older than you and have more experience, therefore I can dismiss what you have to say" game.

As for your later argument about letting them start private schools, I think this is an excellent idea and would be a good solution to the problem.

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« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2006, 12:33:28 AM »

I believe the problem with public schools in the US and Canada is that the common wisdom of the parents of the students has been ignored. Professional educators and extreme groups working throught the courts have set the agenda in the schools.

To the degree that parents are invested and it is their kids, they should have the lion's share of the say.

It's not ageism. You could be a single 60 year old with no kids, nieces/nephews, grandkids.
Or you could be a twenty-something. But if you don't have kids in the local school, it's not your business, for the most part (I'm over stating to make a point).
Sorry, that's the way I see it.

But thanks for the props on the private school issue.

What do you think of vouchers (or are we dirfting toward the taboo of american political discussion?)
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« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2006, 12:59:12 AM »

Just as a matter of interest I had a look at images of Kirpans on google. Some of them are rather beautiful, but still looked a bit pointy to me.

Perhaps those who have had the experience of seeing them in RL could explain how they are blunted and how, if they are permitted in schools, parents can be assured that Sikh pupils aren't wearing the pointy type instead of those that are blunt. Especially, if they are worn concealed.

Thanks. Smiley


 
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Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
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