A five-year-old Sikh boy was denied school enrollment in Australia for wearing turban as it does not align with its uniform policy.
"It is disappointing that my son has been forced to abandon his religious practices and identity to access to an education in Melbourne's Melton Christian College (MCC)," said Sagardeep Singh Arora.
"We have lodged a claim with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC).I believe having a common school uniform is important in promoting school identity and integration. Students should be able to wear their significant religious symbols and articles of faith. It's immoral for a school to not allow students to practice their beliefs,” he said.
"We were in discussions regarding the importance of hair and turban in Sikhism and acceptance of turban as uniform by different organisations (like schools, army, and police) in Australia and the other countries," said Arora. "Yet, the college has refused to review their uniform policy."
MCC has provided a written response to the VEOHRC in which the school refused to include any additional items amid the existing permitted uniform protocol, the report said.
"We acknowledge the disappointment that Sagardeep and his family feel. We respectfully recognise his disappointment that the uniform protocol of this school mean that non prescribed items are not permitted to be worn in addition to the school uniform. The result is that we have agreed that college uniform will be maintained as it is, without permitting additional items," the school said.
Sikhism is a small but growing minority religion in Australia that can trace its origins in the nation to the 1830s. Australia is home to more than 72,000 Sikh, a population that is expected to rise in this year's census.