Thursday, March 31, 2016

News Story Describing Facts of Case

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Ten Year Old Suspended
From School For Carrying a Weapon

By Joe Titan
A fifth grade student was suspended from school for three days on Friday after bringing a metal bladed kirpan to Karver Elementary School earlier in the month, says the boy’s father.

A kirpan is a ceremonial sword or dagger carried by Sikhs with most kirpans best described as a curved, steel blade.
Kirpans are usually worn in a sheath held to the body by a leather strap.
Karver Elementary is a school within the Titanville Unified School District and the district has a policy prohibiting metal bladed kirpans from coming onto any campus within the district.
According to the suspended boy’s father, the kirpan that the boy was wearing was roughly the size of an open Swiss Army knife, with a blade approximately 3 ½ inches long.
The school principal discovered the kirpan while the boy was playing basketball during recess.
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism, a monotheistic religion which originated during the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia and a central tenet of this religion requires Sikh’s to wear at all times the five symbols of their faith: “kes” (long hair), “kangha” (comb), “kachch” (sacred underwear), “kara” (steel bracelet), and a “kirpan”.
Mitchell Lee, spokesperson for the father of the suspended boy, responded to the school district’s action by saying; “This is ridiculous. The main reason the boy’s father brought his family to this country was to escape religious persecution. They never in a million years expected that here in the United States, the land of the free, they would be punished for merely exercising their religion.”
Though school officials declined to comment on this matter, interviews of various community members resulted in the sharing of the following opinions.
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Titanville High School 12th grader Katie Argyridou: “I agree that the boy should not have been suspended because of his religious beliefs. That seems harsh. And for a whole three days? That seems really harsh, but there should have been some kind of consequence because of the danger that bringing a knife to school posed to other students.”
Eric Lau, the father of a non-Sikh 10-year old at the school countered with “The school’s action was totally justified. The school is supposed to keep my child safe and I don’t feel that my son is safe at school when another child possesses a knife on the campus.”
Former UC Berkeley civics professor and Titanville resident Peter Lahey said, “I believe a three day suspension for bringing a knife onto campus is way too short of a penalty. I think the boy should have been suspended permanently. Only this way can we get the all-important message out . . . no knives on campus.” Local parent Chase Jenkins said he completely agreed with Professor Lahey’s statement.
Local Catholic Church priest, Father David Hengky said “The sacred practices of religion, though misunderstood, should not be punished in such a severe manner, especially when it comes to a ten year old child who knows nothing but what was instilled in him by his family. At the very least, the boy, and his family, should have been issued a warning.”

"A warning? You gotta be kidding me. That implies the suspended boy did something wrong, and he didn't. So no, no warning, no suspension, no nothing," said the spokesperson for the father of the suspended boy. It's the school district that needs to be warned or punished, not the boy! It's the school district that did wrong in this case!"

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The Titanvile Register - Your Hometown Newspaper Since 1947
August 11, 2015  5:40 PM

(This “fictional newspaper article” has been written for educational purposes only)

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Period 1 Court Ruling

Chief Justice Trevor Johnson delivered the opinion of the court.

In a 6 to 3 ruling, the court hereby declares Provision 4 of the Titanville Unified School District’s kirpan policy constitutional on the grounds that it does not violate the first amendment’s free exercise clause. 

Provision 4 states that "the blade of the kirpan must be made of a substance other than metal, hardwood, glass, or plastic."

Those ruling in favor of the majority opinion were: 

Chief Justice Trevor Johnson
I believe that Provision 4 should be declared constitutional for the arguments the attorney for the respondent presented characterizing the kirpan as a danger to school students. This includes, the fact the kerpan is classified as a weapon, and that it can cause great physical and emotional harm. Students and parents may feel there is a threat if another student is carrying a knife or blade.  Also there is a firm belief that if a sikh student wears a kirpan to school, then other non-sikh students will feel that they may also bring a knife or other such weapon to school. This may be for thoughts of protection or they may believe that if another student brings a weapon to school, why can’t they bring a weapon if the student next to them has one. 

Associate Justice Augustino Maese
This case is a very controversial one that could go either way, but I believe Provision 4 should be declared constitutional. The kirpan is considered a blade, and if in the wrong hands, could be very dangerous around children. Even if no harm is done, the threat and emotional damage the kirpan may cause, could be far worse than any physical damage. A school is considered a safe haven for some, weapons like the kirpan would disrupt this environment and cause school to be a dangerous place.

Associate Justice Delaney Scannell
I strongly believe Provision 4 should be declared constitutional. If there is any chance of causing harm to any students at a school then a change needs to be made. Although this blade is in a sheath, it still has the potential to hurt someone. These items are not allowed on planes therefore, should absolutely not be allowed in schools. This student could be causing students and parents emotional harm. Parents should not feel comfortable sending their kids to a school where someone can have a blade at their side. I strongly believe Provision 4 should be declared constitutional for the safety of our schools. 

Associate Justice Sydney Andersen
This case was very difficult for me to choose a side on, I was constantly going back and forth. However after hearing arguments on both sides, I strongly believe that Provision 4 should be declared constitutional because the kirpan can still be viewed as a weapon to other students at the school. The kirpan is classified as a weapon, therefore it should be viewed as such -- especially in a school situation. If other children are not allowed to bring weapons to school for fear that they will harm others upon losing their temper, then the kirpan should not be an exception. Non-Sikh parents and other faculty at the school might become afraid that the child could lose his temper and take out the kirpan when he becomes angry and decides to use it against them. Since it is easier for children to lose their temper and more difficult for them to control it, this is plausible. 

Associate Justice Tian Zhou
I strongly believe that provision four of Titanville USD should be de declared constitutional. Despite being a symbol of religion the kirpan is also a blade. Being a blade it will inevitably pose danger to other people. Because it is in a school it would pose both physical and psychological danger to other people. The school is using provision four to help the sikh, I believe this would be the best solution.

Associate Justice Audrey Wilson
Originally I believed that  Provision 4 should have been declared unconstitutional. After listening the points from both sides I changed my opinion, and now believe that Provision 4 should be declared constitutional. I believe that the Kirpan could cause harm, it is a blade. Although it may not ever cause anyone harm it may bring other kids to think why they aren’t allowed to bring one to school. It may also cause emotional harm than physical harm. I also think that if they can not bring their Kirpan on a plane, children should not be allowed to carry it around school. Schools are meant to make kids feel safe, and I believe the Kirpan may make the school a dangerous place.

Those ruling in favor of the minority opinion were:

Associate Justice Leila Hamawi
I believe that Provision 4 should be declared unconstitutional because carrying around a kirpan is a way Sikhs express their religion. Also the first amendment declares the right for people to express their religion freely, and if we don’t allow John Doe to bring his kirpan to school then we would be going against the first amendment. Also there was no evidence that the kirpan hurt anybody which is why the kirpan is not dangerous. If John Doe, was threatening his peers with the kirpan then that would be an issue but because in this case he was not, I don’t see a problem with it. If we ban him from bringing his kirpan to school then might as well ban students from bringing pencils, staplers and protractors to school as well because they also have the potential to cause harm. Kirpans may cause harm and if they do then we would just punish the child not the whole religion itself, but in this case no harm was done. So I strongly believe that the followers of the Sikh religion should be allowed to carry their kirpans. 

Associate Justice Anzhi Wang
I strongly believe that the provision 4 of the Titanville Unified School should be declared unconstitutional. Carrying a kirpan is a religion of Sikhs, and the first amendment expresses that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise. A kirpan is no different than a pen, pencil, or staple, therefore if a student has the potential to hurt someone, any stationary can used as weapons.  

Associate Justice Jacob Ohlemeyer
I personally believe that  the ruling made by my fellow colleagues is incorrect. Kirpans are an article of the Sikh faith and should not be treated as a weapon. Titanville Unified School District’s conduct is not only unconstitutional, but as well immoral. At first glance, kirpans may appear to be just a blade, an instrument to cause harm, but the fact of the matter is that the kirpan is no such thing. They serve strictly as an article of faith, not a weapon to be used for intentional violence.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Video Clips - Period 1 Mock USSC Hearing

Kelvin Dean (Court Clerk) calling the court to order.

John De Lorimier (Attorney for the Petitioner) introducing himself to the court.

Akbar Mahmood (Attorney for the Respondent) arguing before the court.

Tino Maese (Associate Justice) asking petitioner a question.

Leila Hamawi (Associate Justice) asking respondent a question.

My Friends Argued For the Wrong Side

I personally like the students that argued in favor of the respondent, but I think that what they said was wrong. Punishing a kid for carrying a kirpan onto school grounds is not right. I feel the kid should be punished if he attacks another student, but not for just carrying the kirpan.

I Disagree with the Court's Ruling

I am shocked and appalled with the ruling of the court.  I would expect the court to uphold the basic rights of the citizens of this country.  The first amendment clearly protects a citizen's right to worship how they choose.  This ceremonial dagger is a form of worship to the Sikh religion.  Sikh's cannot worship properly without the possesion of a kirpan.  The Sikh doctrine states it is meant for self defense and defense of others.  To say this small, dull, AND sheathed kirpan is a threat to the children and teachers of the Titanville School District is preposterous.  It is also insulting to suggest that Sikh's carry this with ill intent.  I hope in the near future this decision is overruled.  I cannot picture an America where people are still persecuted because of their beliefs.

A Word From The Winning Attorney

On behalf of myself and my co-council, Mark Uriarte,  we are ecstatic with the decision that the court has made in Doe vs. Titanville case. Thank you to all those who voted in favor of the respondent!

A Ridiculous Ruling

I am shocked by the court's ruling. The respondent's argument was weak and poorly delivered. I think that if a certain religion requires that a kirpan must be on the person, that it is unconstitutional for a school to take that away from them.  How can the court say otherwise.  If, by some slim chance, the kirpan was used as a weapon, that individual should be punished as opposed to the entire sikh religion. The court is wrong in every way and I am appalled that this case ended the way it did.  I have lost faith in our court system, these people were not meant to make important decisions such as this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Split home!!!!!

When interviewing my family members I came across different viewpoints that made me really think much deeper into the kirpan case.  Here are the responses of my father, mother, and 21 year old sister.

Father:  When I asked my dad he said as long as it doesn't violate current laws it should be ok.  And when it came to this case he sided with the Respondent telling me that having a weapon at school violates US laws.  When I told him how the kirpan is not a weapon to Sikhs he still thought it to be too dangerous for kids to bring blades to school.

Mother:  My mother thought differently than my dad did.  She thinks that in order to be able to bring a kirpan to school the student must go through a screening process taking tests to help find out if the student is at risk for a mental illness that would cause him or her to act irrationally and use the kirpan as a weapon.

Sister:  Alex, my sister, told me that she doesn't think that anybody should be able to wear any religious items at school.  Even though it is unconstitutional, she believes that the only way to make schools safe is to take this radical step.

And My Opinion:  I think that he should be able to take his kirpan to school day in and day out.  Maybe there should be some restrictions such as having to lock the kirpans sheath on it so it cannot be taken out of the sheath until the student is at home.  Or even Sikh students should have to put their kirpans in a thick bag and have it sewn shut before the student can set foot on campus. There is no black or white answer to this issue and the grey area is immense, making any decision will make someone unhappy.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Photos From Mock USSC Hearing (Period 4)

Attorney for the Petitioner: Grace Miller
Justice: Daniel Hernandez
Justice: Jack Liu
Justice: Charlene Wu
Justice: Max Abughazaleh
Justice: Bryson Smith
City Councilman: Steven Huang
Blogger: Elie Lahey
Chief Justice: Austin Huang
Court Clerk: Sayuzhdri Sarrafpour

Attorney for the Respondent: Paul Callahan

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Roster for Hearing

Per. 1
Attorney for Petitioner Jack de Lorimier / Jay Cuccia
Attorney for Respondent Mark Uriarte / Akbar Mahmood

Chief Justice Trevor Johnson 

Assoc. Justice Tian Zhou  
Assoc. Justice Audrey Wilson  
Assoc. Justice Jacob Ohlemeyer  
Assoc. Justice Tino Maese  
Assoc. Justice Delaney Scannell  
Assoc. Justice Leila Hamawi  
Assoc. Justice Anzhi Wang  
Assoc. Justice Sydney Andersen

Court Clerk   Kelvin Dean

Blogger   Julian Lehr-Bryant
Blogger   Daniela Garcia
Blogger   Brian Yeh
Blogger   Spencer Rooke
Blogger   Chase Greenfield

Blogger   Michael Sean Chang
Blogger   Sean Sung
Blogger   Esther Chien
Blogger   Peizhen Lin

Per 4:

Attorney for Petitioner Grace Miller
Attorney for Respondent Paul Callahan

Chief Justice Austin Huang
Assoc. Justice Bryson Smith
Assoc. Justice Oliver Sheen
Assoc. Justice Jack Liu
Assoc. Justice Charlene Wu
Assoc. Justice Max Abughazaleh
Assoc. Justice Allison Chiang
Assoc. Justice Claire Malhotra
Assoc. Justice Hong Zhen Yan

Court Clerk Sayuzhdri Sarrafpour

Blogger Elizabeth Lahey
Blogger Charis Liao
Blogger Jordan Chiang
Blogger Billy Wong

Per. 5
Attorney for Petitioner Maddy Mushet-Cardenas
Attorney for Respondent Tiger Liu

Chief Justice Mark Riemers
Assoc. Justice Mira Hu            
Assoc. Justice Hastin Zhang
Assoc. Justice Jason Wang
Assoc. Justice Lauren Gan
Assoc. Justice Riona Dunn    
Assoc. Justice Josaiah Bonwell
Assoc. Justice Wendi Wu        
Assoc. Justice Rece Kunisaki

Court Clerk Rocky Ren

Blogger Tianyi Wang
Blogger Chris Wang
Blogger Howard Yuan
Blogger Yang Zhou
Blogger Ting Yao
Blogger Gelin Wu