Mother to challenge Sikh bangle school ban

London, England - The mother of a 14-year-old Sikh girl is planning a legal challenge after her daughter was excluded from her school for wearing a religious wrist bangle.

Sarika Singh was sent home by the school after she refused to remove her silver Kara bangle as she felt it was “a constant reminder to do good.”

Aberdare Girls School in south Wales said it had a clear code of conduct and it had temporarily excluded a pupil for refusing to accept a ruling from the governors.

Jane Rosser, the head teacher, said that wearing the Kara was against regulations because it was a piece of jewellery.

The only two forms of jewellery that girls were allowed to wear in school were a wrist watch and one pair of plain metal stud earrings.

However the Sikh girl's supporters claimed the school's decision infringed her human rights.

The girl's mother Sanita Singh, 38, said she was taking legal advice and was considering seeking a judicial review.

She had the support of several local politicians and the Sikh Federation UK, she added.

She said the teenager would remove the bangle for gym classes, or wood and metalwork, for safety reasons.

She added: “It is not jewellery. It is part of our faith and symbol of our belief.”

She added: “We feel very strongly that Sarika has a right to manifest her religion. She is not asking for anything big and flashy, she is not making a big fuss, she just wants a reminder of her religion.”

Her daughter's interest in the Sikh faith intensified after the family visited India, including the Golden Temple in Amritsar, two years ago.

"I don't believe in putting pressure on children to follow a certain religion, but Sarika decided for herself that she wanted to be a practising Sikh,” Mrs Singh, a mother-of-two, added.

Sarika, of Cwmbach, near Aberdare, said: “I am a Sikh and it is very important for me to wear the Kara because it is a symbol of my faith and a constant reminder that I should only do good work, and never do anything bad, with my hands.

“It is a comfort to me and a confidence booster when I am doing my exams. The reason I am fighting for my right to wear the Kara is because I want to stand up for the right of all the other Sikh pupils across the country to wear their Karas in school.”

The governors rejected the girl's request to wear the bangle after examining the uniform policy and human rights legislation in detail.

The family has been backed by the Valleys Race Equality Council, whose director is the former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies.

He said: “We have arranged for her to see a solicitor and an application will be made to the High Court for a judicial review of the school's decision.

“We believe the school is acting in contravention both of the 1976 Race Relations Act and of human rights legislation.”