The High Court has effectively said that, if a school has a jewellery policy, it must waive it if the jewellery is considered of religious significance.
We reported in June on the case of the 14-year-old Sikh girl, Sakira Watkins-Singh, at Aberdare in South Wales, who was told she could wear only a watch and/or an ear stud. That was school policy. We said that there could be no objection to the wearing of the bracelet this girl wore – the kara – if school jewellery policy allowed it. The fact that it was of religious significance, in those circumstances, should have had no bearing.
But the school's policy is for watches and ear studs only, so it was logical either to ban the kara or allow any jewellery (any, that is, that didn't compromise health and safety).
But now the High Court has ruled that it's OK. The judge ruled that the school had discriminated under race-relations and equality laws. How a religious symbol is a race thing when Sikhism accepts converts is anyone's guess. But, then, as we know, Sikhs are allowed not to wear motorbike helmets because they've got several yards of cloth tied round their heads, for religious reasons, because it holds the hair they never cut, for religious reasons..