Upset Hindus are seeking suspension of the principal of Aranmore Catholic College (ACC) in Leederville (Perth, Australia), which reportedly kicked out a Hindu teenager from school for wearing a tiny nose stud.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged Western Australia (WA) Minister for Education and Training Suzanne (Sue) Mary Ellery, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe, Catholic Education Commission of WA Chair Bishop Gerard Holohan and Catholic Education WA Executive Director Debra Sayce to launch a thorough investigation of the school policies and procedures; which seemed discriminatory and denied the right to this teenager Sanya Singhal to express her religious and cultural identity freely.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that this student was apparently honoring the tradition of her family, who were reportedly of India descent, by putting a stud in her pierced nose. Nose piercing and nose ornaments had been a tradition of women of India for centuries and the Hindu goddesses had been depicted wearing nose ornaments.
Rajan Zed stated that Hindus worldwide were shocked at this heart-breaking unilateral action of a college against a “good student”, simply for following her religious beliefs and sincerely believing that wearing a nose stud was part of her religion and culture.
Moreover, with this action ACC, whose motto is TRUST and which claims to be a “welcoming community”, seemed to be violating its own stated “Beliefs and Values”: “As a multicultural community, we value diversity, believing that all should be accepted and celebrated” and “We believe in the inherent dignity of the individual”; Zed indicated.
Besides suspending principal Declan Tanham and cooperating in the enquiry; ACC Board lead by chairperson Joe Monterosso should admit the mistake, immediately reinstate and apologize to Sanya and her parents, issue a formal apology, and amend the “Uniform and Grooming Guidelines” accordingly for future; Rajan Zed noted.
Zed further said that they respected the school dress code policy as long as it did not violate the traditions and beliefs of the pupils. Noses of girls in India were usually pierced around puberty and it reportedly found mention in ancient Ayurvedic text. Old architecture and paintings of India depicted the presence of tradition of nose ornaments and Indian poets had been singing their praise.
It was sad that despite Australia being a diverse multi-cultural society and despite Sanya reportedly bringing a note from her mother explaining the significance and background of the nose stud and even offering it to cover it with adhesive bandage, the school decided to kick her out; Rajan Zed added.
ACC, which describes itself as “a school with spirit”, is a co-educational school for years 7–12 founded by Sisters of Mercy in 1903. It has about 700 students and boasts over 60 nationalities amongst its students. Catholic Education system, WA’s second largest, educates over 73,000 in 163 schools/colleges in the state “with a focus on the development of the whole person”.