Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 12:22 UK

School and religious symbol cases

Sarika Singh
Sarika Singh was excluded from Aberdare Girls' School in November
A teenager from south Wales has won her claim that she was discriminated against because she was not allowed to wear a religious bangle to school.

Sarika Singh was told she was breaking the uniform's 'no jewellery' policy, and had been excluded from school for nine months.

But the High Court agreed with her that it was an expression of her Sikh faith and that she was a victim of unlawful discrimination.

The case of Sarika Singh draws parallels with other cases where religious symbols have caused controversy in schools. Here are some of the cases that have made the headlines.

DENBIGH HIGH SCHOOL, LUTON

Shabina Begum, 15, a pupil at Denbigh High School in Luton, won a 2005 court of appeal battle to be allowed to wear head-to-toe religious dress - the jilbab - at school. The school did allow girls to wear the hijab, a headscarf, and trousers and tunic, but refused Miss Begum permission to come to classes in full-length dress.

The school won its appeal at the House of Lords. In a unanimous ruling, the judges said the school had "taken immense pains to devise a uniform policy which respected Muslim beliefs".

MILLAIS SCHOOL, HORSHAM
Lydia Playfoot was told by Millais School in Horsham, West Sussex, that she must remove a "purity ring", which signifies that she does not believe in sex before marriage, or face expulsion. Miss Playfoot took her case to the High Court in July 2007 but the inquiry ruled that she had not suffered any discrimination.

ICKNIELD HIGH SCHOOL, LUTON

Girls at Icknield High School in Luton, Bedfordshire, were given the go-ahead to wear Muslim headscarves in 2004. The decision came after a prospective Muslim pupil at the school found that hijabs were not on the approved uniform list, forcing a review of the policy.

ROBERT NAPIER SCHOOL, GILLINGHAM
Samantha Devine, a 13-year-old Catholic pupil at the Robert Napier School in Gillingham, Kent, was told last year not to wear a crucifix on a chain because it breached health and safety rules. School bosses told her that she could wear a crucifix as a small lapel badge but not on a chain.

MADANI HIGH SCHOOL, LEICESTER

In 2006 the Madani High School in Leicester announced that non-Muslim girls at the faith school would be required to wear head scarves regardless of their religion. The school, which is required by law to accept 10% of non-Muslim students, said that all pupils would be required to cover their heads while at school.

HEADFIELD CofE JUNIOR SCHOOL, DEWSBURY

Aishah Azmi, 24, a British Muslim teacher who refused to remove her veil in a primary school during lessons, lost her discrimination test case against Headfield Church of England junior school in Dewsbury in 2006 but was awarded 1,100 for victimisation in the way the dispute was handled.




SEE ALSO
Schoolgirl wins Muslim gown case
02 Mar 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
School to review uniform rule
27 Jan 04 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts

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