Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - PUNJAB - let­ter­schd@hin­dus­tan­

WASH­ING­TON: A Sikh stu­dent in the US state of Penn­syl­va­nia was al­legedly re­moved from a high school-level soc­cer (foot­ball) game by a ref­eree for wear­ing a tur­ban, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports.

Of­fi­cials from the Marple Newtown School Dis­trict said the in­ci­dent oc­curred on Tues­day when the high school stu­dent was play­ing against the Con­estoga High team, ac­cord­ing to WPVI-TV.

Wit­nesses said the ref­eree did not al­low the Sikh stu­dent onto the field be­cause he was wear­ing tur­ban in com­pli­ance with his faith.

The ref­eree re­port­edly cited Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of High School Soc­cer rules that state: “Il­le­gal equip­ment shall not be worn by any player. Types of equip­ment which are il­le­gal in­clude, but are not limited to hel­mets, hats, caps or vi­sors.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Penn­syl­va­nia In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (PIAA), dis­tricts can ap­ply for ex­emp­tions from such rules by re­quest­ing that cer­tain play­ers be al­lowed to wear re­li­gious items, said WPVI-TV, an af­fil­i­ate of the ABC news.

Marple Newtown School Dis­trict of­fi­cials were in­formed about the in­ci­dent and have ini­ti­ated a probe to find out if the stu­dent’s re­li­gious rights were vi­o­lated by the ref­eree’s de­ci­sion, it said.

In a state­ment, school dis­trict at­tor­ney Mark Sereni wrote, “Our dis­trict was sur­prised to learn about the in­ci­dent.”

It added, “The PIAA ap­par­ently does not have a rule that rea­son­ably ac­com­mo­dates the wear­ing of re­li­gious head­wear by our stu­dent ath­letes who play soc­cer.”

“Our dis­trict is in­ves­ti­gat­ing this rul­ing and has ad­vo­cated and will con­tinue to ad­vo­cate for the rights of our stu­dents to ap­pro­pri­ately wear re­li­gious head­gear,” Sereni said.

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