THERE may or may not be a trend here, but all of these...

salmagundi

April 25, 1994

THERE may or may not be a trend here, but all of these items, involving the intersection of schools and courts, moved on news wires on the same day:

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FRESNO, Calif. (AP) Sikh students should be allowed to wear ceremonial religious daggers to school, the American Civil Liberties Union argued in a lawsuit Friday against a school system.

School trustees in the central California town of Livingston voted in March to ban the daggers, called kirpans, for fear that they could be used as weapons.

The ACLU lawsuit, filed in Fresno, says the ban violates the "children's right to the free exercise of their religion."

The lawsuit says the Sikhs are willing to accommodate safety concerns by restricting the blade length to four inches and by stitching the handle to its strap.

*

By Robert Musial

Knight-Ridder Newspapers

LIVONIA, Mich. Kelly DeNooyer and her mom thought she should be able to show her second-grade classmates a videotape of her singing a religious song.

When her teachers and school officials disagreed, the DeNooyers sued, kicking off a three-year court battle.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review lower-court rulings rejecting their claim that Kelly's rights had been violated.

In December 1990, Kelly, then an 8-year-old student at McKinley Elementary School, was picked by her teacher to be "VIP of the week."

That meant she'd get special recognition and a chance to tell her 22 classmates about something important to her.

Kelly wanted to show a videotape of her singing a song about turning over to Jesus her "childish heart of sin." The performance was taped in front of her congregation at a Baptist church in Redford.

But teacher Sandra Solomon viewed the tape and decided not to show it, and the principal agreed.

"We did not want to appear to be supporting a particular religion," Rennels said.

*

BRISBANE, Australia (Reuter) - An Australian schoolboy who sued his former headmaster for telling his mother he was naughty lost his court case on Tuesday.

Lucas Beatson, 14, from Brisbane, had lodged a defamation writ in Brisbane Magistrates Court. He claimed headmaster Steve Tharanou defamed him by telephoning his home after accusing him of vandalizing a toilet door and suspending him from classes.

Beatson was 12 at the time of the incident at the Brisbane Vienna Woods Primary School and does not deny the vandalism. His counsel had told the court the boy's feelings had been "incredibly hurt" when his mother arrived at the school after the telephone call.

Magistrate Keith Krosch dismissed the action, saying he found no malice on the part of Tharanou.

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