Once upon a time, every schoolboy had a pocket knife with him at all times. It was a tool, used for carving things out of wood, preparing food, or just playing around with. Of course, times have changed. In a post-9/11, post-Columbine world, no one carries a knife; most schools have a zero-tolerance policy that not only covers pocket knives, but also includes eating utensils. So why would a British judge be advocating for schools to allow boys to bring a knife to school now?
It turns out that Sir Mota Singh is a Sikh and the knife he wants kids to be allowed to bring to school is a Kirpan, one of the five “articles of faith” that Sikhs must have with them at all times. So how do you reconcile this matter of faith with the very practical matter of not allowing kids to bring weapons to school? “There has been no reported case, certainly none that I know of,” Sir Mota told the BBC, “of a Sikh using a knife in order to cause injury.” Of course, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.
The way I see it, if you want to go to a public school, you have to be prepared to follow the rules enacted for the safety of all. If your beliefs compel you to do something contrary to those rules, then perhaps it is time to find a school more conducive to your beliefs, such as a private, religious school. Sir Mota would agree, I think; he supported the actions of a family that did just that, after their son’s public school refused to let him carry his Kirpan.
Personally, I’d just as soon my kids were able to concentrate on learning rather than having to worry about when some kid was going to grab someone else’s Kirpan and start stabbing people with it. Would you feel comfortable knowing that there were children at your kids’ school who were carrying knives?