A high school senior was in court yesterday on charges of arson and criminal mischief after he was charged with setting fire to a fellow student's turban.
Authorities say Garrett Green set a 16-year-old junior's turban alight with a cigarette lighter during a fire drill last week. The Sikh student suffered patches of burnt hair but was not seriously hurt.
The culturally insensitive act came with some big consequences. In addition to legal proceedings, school officials are banning the high school senior from campus and won't be allowed to attend prom or graduation at the school just east of Trenton. The district will give the 18-year-old home schooling instead.
The turban-wearing student was a Sikh. Sikhism calls for long hair on men who commonly wear turbans. Is this just an isolated incident of schoolyard mischief or dangerous religious intolerance? Though Turkey has banned and then reallowed the wearing of headscarves in schools, should schools have a more neutral dress code? Are articles like turbans detrimental to a learning environment?