Australia Western Sydney school defends use of 'religious' knives

04:05  17 may  2021
04:05  17 may  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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A school principal has defended a loophole which permits students to bring religious knives to school, despite a recent alleged lunchtime stabbing.

Emergency services were called to Glenwood High School in Sydney's north-west on May 6 after a male student, 16, was allegedly stabbed twice in the stomach during a fight with another boy.

He was rushed to hospital while the other student, 14, was charged with two counts of wounding a person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The student is accused of using a religious knife in the alleged incident, which sent the school into lockdown.

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School principal Sonja Anderson addressed the alleged incident in a letter sent home to parents last Friday, which was obtained by 2GB.

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Ms Anderson acknowledged the use of knives 'used as a weapon in a dangerous, violent or threatening way is never acceptable'.

But she added possession of a knife for genuine religious reasons is specified as a reasonable excuse under the The NSW Summary Offences Act.

'We are currently working with community representatives to discuss how best to enable students to meet aspects of their religious faith and, at the same time, ensure our schools remain a safe place for students and staff,' the letter states.

'Once we have discussed this issue further with the community representatives we will provide further guidance to NSW public schools.'

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The school's position on knives sparked outraged 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham.

'I'm sorry but knives don't belong in schools,' he told listeners on Monday.

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'I don't care what your religion is. And the NSW Police and Department of Education should make this crystal clear.

'Queensland's got it in black and white. The law states that it's not a reasonable excuse to possess a knife in a school for genuine religious purposes.'

Fordham doesn't understand why some students can't bring peanuts to school in NSW but students can bring a knife for religious reasons.

'I would have thought the solution here is pretty simple. No knives on school ground for any reason whatsoever, full stop,' he said.

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NSW Department of Education quoted the letter sent by Ms Anderson when contacted for comment by Daily Mail Australia.

The department also confirmed the alleged incident is currently before the courts and is unable comment further.

Ms Anderson also provided an update on the injured student, who is 'progressing well' is being provided with support and expected to return to school soon.

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