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Bay pupils punished for religious beliefs

 
STANDING THEIR GROUND: Grade 10 Westering High pupils Thireshni Chetty, 16, and Kaylin Govender, 15, with their bindis. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE

STANDING THEIR GROUND: Grade 10 Westering High pupils Thireshni Chetty, 16, and Kaylin Govender, 15, with their bindis. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE

TWO Hindu teenagers are taking Westering High School in Port Elizabeth to the Equality Court after they were punished for wearing the bindi.

Grade 10 pupils Thireshni Chetty, 16, and Kaylin Govender, 15, expressed sadness yesterday at being singled out in front of their classmates because of their religious beliefs.

The cousins said they were even banned from participating in extramural activities after refusing to remove the black dot, also referred to as a pottu.

The black dot is worn on the forehead of unmarried Hindu women to ward off negative energies.

“School is not the same. The teachers liked me and now they don’t,” Kaylin said from her home in Westering.

Kaylin and Thireshni attended Westering Primary School before graduating to Westering High two years ago.

Both girls, top achievers academically, said they had not experienced any prejudice at school about their religious attire – until early this year.

Kaylin was approached in January in front of her whole class by one of her teachers and told to remove the black dot on her forehead as it did not form part of the school uniform.

Thireshni, meanwhile, said she had been approached and told to remove the dot before she was allowed into maths class.

Both girls explained the significance of the dot and why they could not simply remove it to their teachers. However, their explanations fell on deaf ears. – Kathryn Kimberley

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8 Responses to Bay pupils punished for religious beliefs

  1. When students start at the school they will be given the rules! IF YOU DO LIKE THE RULES DO NOT ENROL YOUR YOUR CHILDREN THERE!Go somewhere else where they allow your religious symbolism. Serious students comply with the rules get their matric, get on with their lives and then wear whatever they want once their school studies are completed.Simple as a dimple!I commend Westering High School for having standards!

  2. “Both girls, top achievers academically, said they had not experienced any prejudice at school about their religious attire – until early this year”

    deduction: jealous, stupid and retarded parents in SGB couldnt see that that not letting kids use observe their religion is gonna be bad for business for the school and principal especially in this country

  3. Westering High is a Christian School and must continue to affirm it’s position as such. And as Niks says all parents are informed of it when they register their kids. The school must take a stand and not be bullied by anyone about its dress code. Westering High has always been accommodating to people of all faiths. I recall that the Mormon student’s were allowed to stand outside the assembly hall while morning devotions were read. Muslim students were allowed to attend their religious events during the year and be absent from school without complaint. Suing the school over optional religious attire is unfair.

  4. You have a lot to learn South Africa…freedom of Religion?

  5. You have the right to religion…. Teachers demand respect from pupils but this display of utter disrespect for another religion is not setting a good example to students, nor is it a display of christian behaviour in a so called christian school….

  6. I am finely glad to see someone standing up to Westering, as they have always thought they can do and say as they please. It does not matter if its a Christian school and whether its an option to choose in there religion with regards to the Bindi, its there choice. They should be allowed to feel free in the choices they make as they are young adults and the future of this country. I see no reason where it would affect the school uniform in anyway or even disrespect or degrade the school’s name.
    I think these Girls have all the right in the world to wear the Bindi, as we are suppose to be a rainbow nation. So you go girls, fight for what you believe in and never allow anyone to tell you different. Westering school needs to be finely put in there place once and for all.

  7. A school such as Westering High is a Christian based school. The parents were well aware of the school rules when they sent their kids to the school. The school allows Hindu students to wear the religious red and white strings. Being Hindu myself, I am completely outraged by this as most would see the bindi as an optional extra. It is not extremely religious. If it were, I’d bet my bottom dollar that a lot more girls would come together to take a stand.

  8. Teachers are suppose to respect others religious beliefs its unfair on the girls what does the school uniform have to do with the dot arg they just being selfish

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