PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Sikh students may wear a small, religious dagger to school in the Plymouth-Canton Public Schools, the Detroit Free Press reported, as the school board reversed a ban it put in place in December after a fourth-grade boy was found with such a knife.
Called kirpans, the daggers are a religious symbol that baptized Sikh males are expected to carry, according to the Free Press. In Sikh tradition, the dagger represents a commitment to fight evil, the Free Press reported. There are at least three Sikh centers in western Wayne County.
The new policy allows students to wear a kirpan to school if the blade is dull, is no longer than 2.25 inches and is sewn into a sheath in such a way that the blade cannot be removed from the sheath, according to the Free Press. At that size, the object does not constitute a dangerous weapon under the Revised School Code, the Press reported.
A note sent to parents said that the new rules recognize the need for safety but also the right to practice one's religion, according to the Free Press.
Detroit Free Press, "Sikh students can wear dagger in Plymouth-Canton schools, but with modifications," Jan. 31, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Zero-tolerance policies aim to reduce school violence: But critics doubt rules' efficacy," Dec. 13, 2001