Hindus are critical of Lincoln Academy of Pleasant Grove (Utah) for reportedly reprimanding a student and removing her from class for wearing dreadlocks, which she links to her spiritual journey in Hindu beliefs.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that school should offer a public apology to the student and her family who had to unnecessarily go through this harassment, which appeared to be a case of religious infringement.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Utah State Office of Education, which oversees this school, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brad C. Smith to institute an enquiry into this incident.
Rajan Zed indicated that the harassment of eighth-grader Caycee Cunningham should be immediately stopped and her religious/spiritual rights be restored.
Zed stressed that following minority religious beliefs by students should not be “distraction” for any school. Hinduism was oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it deserved the same respect as any other religion.
Rajan Zed explained that many Hindu ascetics sported dreadlocks as a part of religious practice, a sign of renunciation and disregarding vanity. Lord Shiva, who along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, formed the great triad of Hindu deities, was depicted as wearing matted hair. Rig-Veda, the oldest existing scripture of mankind, talked about “mighty Rudra, the god with braided hair”.
Lincoln Academy, launched in 2005 whose tagline is “inspiring children to excel”, serves students in kindergarten through ninth grade. Jacob Hunt and Robin Merrill are Principal and Vice Principal respectively.