DASTAR ISSUE AT SOUTHAMPTON SCHOOL
This matter has been brought to the attention of Sikh Council UK by local media. Sikh Council UK have spoken to the Head of Religious Education at St Anne’s Catholic School and also to both families affected by the issue. The school has stated that they take pride in accommodating diversity and that this incidence has been a genuine misunderstanding on their behalf. The school has provided a formal apology for the unfortunate incident to the families and both pupils have returned to school wearing their dastaars (turbans).
Sikh Council UK is disappointed that a school as a centre for education in the UK in an area with a long established Sikh community could have made such a fundamental error. We are satisfied that the school has realised their mistake and rectified it rapidly.
Sikh Council UK confirms that for observant Sikhs the dastaar is an article of faith which they will not remove in public. Schools across the UK accommodate the wearing of the dastaar by Sikh pupils without any issue as part of their uniform policy. In recognition of the importance of a dastaar to an observant Sikh, Parliament recently enacted legislation providing an exemption for dastaar wearing Sikhs from having to wear safety helmets in most workplaces.