Carrying knives in NSW public schools will be banned as the government moves to close a loophole that allows members of the Sikh community to carry ceremonial daggers to school for religious reasons.
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell announced the ban on Tuesday in response to a stabbing at Glenwood High in Sydney's northwest two weeks ago.
The ban will apply from Wednesday to all students, staff and visitors to NSW public schools.
It's in response to the stabbing of a 16-year-old by another teen with a kirpan - a ceremonial dagger that baptised Sikhs are required to carry.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Tuesday that taking a weapon of any description to school in this day and age was not appropriate.
She had earlier expressed shock over the schoolyard stabbing.
Ms Mitchell said allowing knives in schools was not in line with community expectations and the government would be making the legislative change to close the loophole.
"In the interim I've also asked the department to send advice out to our schools today updating our policy to say that knives for religious purposes will be banned in government schools," she told Sydney radio 2GB on Tuesday.
Ms Mitchell had spoken to representatives from the Sikh community about the stabbing and she said they were distressed.
"We need to act and I think that's in line with community sentiment and it's also in line with my responsibilities as minister," she said.
"I have to make sure that our schools are safe places for our students and staff and that's why we need to take this action."
Ms Berejiklian said the government had discussed "symbols or other equivalent gestures" that could replace the weapons.
"We appreciate the significance and importance of carrying through with one's faith ... we think there'll be a compromise that all of us can live with moving forward."
However the NSW Labor leader said the ban was a knee-jerk reaction entered into without consultation with the Sikh community.
"Parents need to know that when their children go to school that they are safe, yes, but in other jurisdictions they've been able to find a way through this," Jodi McKay told reporters.
"We don't have to reinvent the wheel here.
"In the UK, (the kirpan) has to be small, it's ceremonial, and it's sheathed and you can't unsheath it."
Australian Associated Press