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Aus school apologises for refusing admission to Sikh boy

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Melbourne, September 3: A private school in the Australian city of Brisbane, which refused admission to a Sikh boy because he wore turban, has tendered a public apology and is reviewing its strict uniform norms as part of an out-of-court settlement with his family.

The student’s family, which cannot be named for legal reasons, lodged a claim earlier this year with the Anti- Discrimination Commission of Queensland against Brisbane’s Ormiston College and its headmaster Brett Webster after they were told that their 12-year-old son could only attend school if he cut his hair and did not wear turban.

“Ormiston College has apologised for any hurt that may have resulted from the decision, and have undertaken to review their enrolment practices and uniform policy to ensure that it does not act in breach of the Anti-Descrimination Act 1991 (Queensland),†it said in a statement.

An out-of-court settlement was reached in recent weeks after the school agreed to issue a public apology and pay the family undisclosed compensation, ‘The Australian’ reported.

Ormiston College on Tuesday confirmed the settlement, which thwarts a public trial.

The family’s lawyer Scott McDougall said “the main thing they wanted was broader understanding within the community to the importance of being able to choose an education whilst maintaining your religious beliefs and identity.â€

He said his clients were happy with the confidential settlement.

“We’re hopeful that other schools will take note and it won’t be repeated upon the Sikh community,†he said, adding the boy was attending another private school where he was allowed to wear his turban.

Webster said the school was pleased the case was now resolved.

The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal case was the first of its kind involving a Sikh student in Australia.

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