Christian School Found to Have Discriminated Against Boy Over Turban

A Melbourne Christian school has amended its uniform policy after being found to have discriminated against a young Sikh boy because he wore a turban.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in September found Melton Christian College breached the Equal Opportunity Act by not allowing Sidhak Singh Arora, then aged five, to attend the school wearing a patka, or children’s turban.

A joint statement by Sidhak’s parents and the school says the uniform policy has been amended “to allow exceptions where genuine medical or religious grounds exist, such that Sidhak will be able to start at MCC in the beginning of the 2018 school year”.

“MCC regrets the difficulties that took place with respect to the enrolment and the family is grateful to the school for the amendments it has made to the uniform policy in order to welcome Sidhak to the school,” the statement read.

Sidhak’s parents, Sagardeep Singh Arora and Anureet Kaur Arora, tried to enrol their son at the school in 2016 before the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission intervened in the case.

The Aroras still wanted Sidhak to attend the Melton Christian College because it was close to home and where Sidhak’s cousins studied.

During the VCAT hearing, the school argued its decision was lawful under exemptions to the Equal Opportunity Act.

VCAT ordered the parents and school to negotiate an arrangement to resolve the situation.

The ruling found “MCC’s uniform policy, in so far as it prohibits head gear of a non-Christian faith, could be described as ’openly discriminatory’”.