Silver Ring Thing Lose Case

Lydia Playfoot, the daughter of the Silver Ring Thing’s UK organisers, has lost her case against her school[1] banning her from wearing her silver ring.

The BBC quotes Miss Playfoot as saying that this ruling will

mean that slowly, over time, people such as school governors, employers, political organisations and others will be allowed to stop Christians from publicly expressing and practising their faith

I agree with her completely. Where I suppose we differ is that she thinks she is painting a picture of a nightmare scenario, but I think she’s setting a laudable target for society to aim at.

People should, of course, be allowed to believe whatever they like. But they should be strongly discouraged from making fools of themselves by professing a belief in invisible friends in the public arena.

[1] A school where she is no longer even a pupil.


  1. Dave, the implication you’re making here is that someone shouldn’t be able to express themselves freely in a public arena. I can’t agree with that. People should be allowed to make fools of themselves.

    So do I think a school a public arena where people should be allowed to say what they want? The school has under the Human Rights Act a responsibility to ensure the freedom of expression of it’s students. If it doesn’t, being a government institution, I believe it can be held legally accountable.However, in a school one’s rights are curtailed as demanded by their role to educate. A student’s speech is normally curtailed in such an establishment – for example, something being a fair comment “that teacher is an asshole” or true “that teacher smells” is not acceptable. Likewise the requirements of a uniform has educational benefits and hence have some protection from Article 9.

    In short, the Human Rights Act doesn’t let you throw common sense out of the window.Given the results of R (Begum) v Denbigh High School – where the Lords upheld a school’s right to require a student not to wear a jilbab, I doubt anyone ever had any hope of winning this case. As previous discussions of this have shown, it seems to have been a publicity stunt for SRT.

  2. Mark,

    You’re right of course. I overstated my case massively. Of course everyone should have the basic human right to make a fool of themselves in public as often as they like.

    But I do think that we should avoid giving any official support to religion in the public arena. By which I mean that schools shouldn’t teach religion as truth and government departments shouldn’t promote religion in any way.

    Oh, and we should disestablish the church of England.

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