Kirpan in Quebec Schools

by PProvencher on November 3, 2017 - 8:22pm

The supreme court of Canada, after much discussion, ruled in 2006 to allow kirpans in Quebec schools. The vote was a unanimous 8-0 in favor of allowing this ceremonial dagger to be worn in schools by members of the Sikh religion. It was established, by the court, that the kirpan was never intended to be used as a weapon by the boy (Gurbaj Singh) and that it was an integral part of his religion and faith. This issue arose half a decade ago (2001) when the boy was playing in the school yard and his kirpan fell from his clothes. He had worn the kirpan, wrapped in cloth around his waist for years and no one had ever noticed before that day. He was sent home and told not to return until he stopped wearing his kirpan. This gave birth to the controversial issue of kirpans being, or not being allowed in schools. The kirpan is one of the five Sikh articles of faith, which are referred to as The 5 Kakaars and these are part of the very foundation of the Sikh religion. It is crucial for Sikh member to posses these 5 articles or faith. Many parents of the school protested the idea of bringing a dagger to school, fearing for their children’s safety. Many made their children stay home. Before finally being allowed to be worn in schools the kirpan was initially banned for reasons of public safety.



Growing up I was always told to accept people as they are. This is why I believe that every person and every religion has its place in the world. I was not brought up in a religious home and I am not religious in any way. I do although understand that religion plays a big part of many peoples’ lives around the globe and that is something that everyone should respect. I was taught that people come from different backgrounds, with different life experiences and this is why not everyone sees the world in the same way. I do not think that it is anyone’s business to tell other people how to live their lives. When it comes to religious expression, I believe accommodations need to be made in order to find a middle ground, a place where both parties can co-exists. This is why I am for kirpans in public schools if they are properly concealed and rendered purely symbolic. I believe that the Sikh community has the right to religious expression, as does any community and those are things that should be fundamental to an inclusive multicultural society like modern day Canada. What do you think? Should the kirpan be allowed in Quebec schools if the proper precautions are taken in order to ensure public safety?

News, CBC. "Top court says Sikh student may carry kirpan." CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 2 Mar. 2006,


The Kirpan issue is one that is still so spoken about today, therefore your article was really insteresting, and also very well written!

I completely agree with your worldview, that everyone should be equal and have the right to carry religious symbols with them. Though, I must admit that I believe that it is important to also think about the arguments of the other side of the debate. I personally agree with keeping Kirpans, but I believe that some arguments on the other side are worth thinking about too. On the news recently, I have heard that blades will be accepted on planes, as this makes for compromise for those who believe that it is unacceptable for Sikhs to have the right to carry the Kirpan, but for others to not have the right to carry blades. I still believe that the Kirpan is a religious symbol before it is a blade, but I can understand people who believe it is unfair for other to not have the right to carry their own blade. I also understand some people’s fear that the Kirpan may be used as a weapon, though I think it is also unfair to assume that Sikhs can use this as a weapon, as it is rather a religious symbol to them. We cannot forget the that that the Kirpan is still a blade, so I can understand other’s point of view. Still, just like you, I value equality of ethnicities, religion, gender, etc. Thus, I still think that the Kirpan is a religious symbol that is crucial to Sikhs and we should respect that completely. Yes, it is a blade which can be dangerous, but we need to respect this religion’s symbol.

What do you think about others wanting to have the right to carry blades on planes or schools, as they believe that it is unfair for Sikhs to have the right to, but not us?