Hindu girl has been barred from her Catholic school after she had her nose pierced for cultural and religious reasons.
On Tuesday, the first day of school at Aranmore Catholic College, Sanya Singhal, 15, was ordered to remove the tiny new stud in her left nostril or go home. The Year 10 pupil showed teachers a note from her mother and tried to explain the stud could not be removed for 12 months for religious reasons, but was told she could not attend class until she took it out.
Sanya’s mother, Kalyani, said it was a spiritually significant custom in northern India for young girls to have a nose pin inserted to mark their transition to womanhood.
She said she asked Aranmore principal Declan Tanham if her daughter could cover the pin with a bandaid, but was told Sanya would have to change schools if she refused to remove it.
“They have exceptions for the Islamic girls by allowing them to wear their headscarf, but we were told our cultural needs are not relevant,” Ms Singhal said.
She acknowledged the college rules stipulate no face piercings, but said they also allowed for discretion.
Sanya, who has been at Aranmore since Year 3, said the pin’s spiritual significance meant it was similar to wearing a crucifix on a necklace.
Mr Tanham confirmed Sanya could not go to school unless she removed the stud.
“If she takes it out she’s welcome,” he said. “She’s a good student.”
He said Aranmore was the most multi-cultural school in Perth and had many Hindu students, but none with a nose piercing.
“She’s welcome at the school — she just has to abide by the uniform policy agreed to at the point of enrolment,” he said.
“They knew this previously, they’re just choosing to be selective about it. If I let one student do it, the other students will say, ‘Why can’t I?’” Indian Society of WA assistant secretary Papori Barua said wearing a nose pin was a religious custom for women in some parts of India.