Hindu girl Sanya Singhal, 15, who was banned from school for wearing a nose stud. Picture: Today Tonight
Hindu girl Sanya Singhal, 15, who was banned from school for wearing a nose stud. Picture: Today Tonight

Girl kicked out of school over piercing

A WEST Australian teenager is in tense stand-off with her school after she refused to remove her nose stud.

Proud Hindu girl Sanya Singhal was told to leave Aranmore Catholic College in Perth last week for breaking the uniform policy on her first day of year 10, leaving her crying and humiliated.

But with the school refusing to back down and the 15-year-old off school for more than a week, many are outraged Sanya's religious beliefs aren't being accepted and calling for the education authorities to intervene.

Her mum, Kalyani Singhal, said the nose stud was a spiritually significant custom for girls in northern India, symbolising their transition into womanhood, and it cannot be removed for a year.

"It's not like we're doing it for fashion; it's to show respect for the gods, for what we believe in, for our culture," she told Today Tonight.

"I love Australia, I'm Australian, but at the same time, we love practising our culture for ourself."

 

Hindu girl Sanya Singhal, 15, with her mum Kalyani after she was banned from school for wearing a nose stud. Picture: Today Tonight
Hindu girl Sanya Singhal, 15, with her mum Kalyani after she was banned from school for wearing a nose stud. Picture: Today Tonight

Sanya has been at the school since year 3 and said she had seen exceptions made for other students, with Islamic girls able to wear head scarfs.

"I was very sad honestly and also embarrassed because two other people were there when (the principal) was telling me off," she said.

"I don't want to pick on someone but I've seen someone with purple hair."

Ms Singhal took a letter to principal Declan Tanham explaining the reasons and even offering to cover the stud with a Band-Aid.

 

Sanya is a good student who’s sad to be missing her studies but says she refuses to back down. Picture: Today Tonight
Sanya is a good student who’s sad to be missing her studies but says she refuses to back down. Picture: Today Tonight

Mr Tanham said in a statement that students and parents were required, verbally and in writing, to agree to the uniform policy to attend the school.

"If they are not willing to support the college policies then the family is encouraged to seek another more compatible educational opportunity," he said.

But upset Hindus are now calling for his suspension, with many taking to social media petitioning for Sanya to be allowed back to the school.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed urged education authorities, including Catholic heads, to launch an investigation into the school policies and procedures, "which seemed discriminatory".

Mr Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said Hindus worldwide were shocked at the heartbreaking action against a "good student simply for following her religious beliefs".

Mr Zed said it was sad this happened despite Australia being a diverse multicultural society.

The Hindu Council of Australia said Catholic school teachers needed to be more aware of Hindu traditions and sensitivities and it would look into getting schools to permit religious symbols of non-Christian students.

The school boasts more than 60 nationalities among its students.

"From our inception, we have always welcomed new migrants to Australia … Not only does this reflect the diversity of the WA population, it encourages our students to look at issues from a global perspective," its website reads.


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