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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