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Sunday, 19 April 2009

Bangle wrangle – counting the cost

The bangle wrangle we were reporting on last year has cost the British school at the centre of it a cool two hundred grand. That’s the price of religion when it gets uppity and claims special status.

As you can see from this story from last autumn – and those linked to in it – a Sikh girl at a Welsh school insisted on her “right” to wear a bangle when the school’s policy was against it.

That school policy, which allowed only ear studs and watches, affected all pupils, not just this one. But, you see, this was a religious piece of jewellery – and the High Court ruled in favour of the pupil, thereby ruling in favour of superstitious nonsense. The girl does not have to wear a bangle, simple as that.

Now the Express tells us that, as well as the £200,000 legal bill,

education bosses have been ordered to pay the student banned from wearing the Sikh Kara bangle damages believed to be at least five figures.

Aberdare Girls’ School, in Aberdare, Wales, is reeling from the bill, which includes an invoice from human rights group Liberty, who brought the case on behalf of Sarika Watkins-Singh, 15.

The school’s own legal fees top £76,000.

The row began when Watkins-Singh was excluded from the school earlier in the year for refusing to remove the bangle. The school denied any racial discrimination.

Well that was because there was no racial discrimination. The bangle seems to be something that followers of a particular belief system insist that they have to wear.

All the more reason for kicking religion out of the public square – and that means schools – except as something to learn about, as a valid academic subject. It just causes problems – and costs money.

A TaxPayers’ Alliance spokesman, Mark Wallace, is quoted in the Express story as saying, “This case means a headache for the taxpayer, who will ultimately be forced to stump up.

“This just emphasises the need for schools to be given full control of their rules and regimes without risk of politically correct enforcement. The problem in this case arose because of interference from other parties.”

Other parties that used their political correctness in pursuit of a policy of appeasing the Deluded Herd.


Guy G said...

I wonder if this would have been different if it weren't a Sikh who was involved. I believe that discriminating against Sikhs or Jews is legally considered racial discrimination, because of the very strong association of race and religion in these two groups.

Of course, the whole thing is utterly ridiculous, and whilst there clearly hasn't been racial discrimination, that might not legally be the case.


Stuart Hartill said...

I'm a Liberty member, but even I wasn't best pleased reading in the Liberty newsletter they'd landed a school with this legal bill. Maybe they're trying to prove they're not just some bunch of white Hampstead trendies, but sometimes they need to be a bit less 'abstract' and think about the effect of their work on ordinary people. There were ways of solving this reasonably without a big court case and I'm sure the school sought them.
On t'other hand, only fair to mention the Taxpayers Alliance are in bed with the Freedom Association, one of whose best known members is the Stock Exchange chaplain, Peter Mullen - who's appeared on these pages. If this was a case involving a gay pupil I suspect they'd still be taking their 'political correctness gone mad' line.
Then again (really trying to see all sides here) even Mullen has his good days. Try this snippet ( on happy-clappy Anglicans - had me in stitches!