Quebec boy can wear Sikh kirpan at school

In a decision that sets a legal precedent for schools across Quebec, Superior Court Judge Danielle Grenier ruled yesterday that Gurbaj Singh can wear his kirpan at Ste. Catherine Labouré School in LaSalle.

The kirpan, a ceremonial dagger worn by baptized Sikhs, must be concealed under his clothing, must be carried in a blunt wooden, not metal, sheath, which must be encased in a cloth that is sewn closed and securely stitched to a carrying strap, the judge ruled. If the kirpan is lost, the boy must report its disappearance to school authorities at once.

The ruling is a result of a compromise between Marguerite Bourgeoys School Board officials, who maintained that safety was their primary concern, and Gurbaj's family, who insisted on their son's right to practise his religion.