Amid all the rejoicing for the victory of common sense over the fundamental radicals in Shabina Begum’s case I can’t help but be worried.
There was another significant ruling before Shabina’s that got less attention but was equally important (infact it was used in her judgement!). In Ali v Lord Grey School the lords decided that even though the school had breached the domestic laws on exclusion they could not be held liable for any damages since the duty to provide an education fell to the LEA. Even though the school breached the law!
Those two rulings give schools nothing less than a quasi-license to discriminate if they so wish. You can argue that a school will take into account whatever needs exist, but it doesnâ€™t matter, because that decision making process is unchallengeable.
Because there is no requirement to educate at a particular school, any school can exclude you and I’d argue that this ruling gives the go ahead for those schools to do so even if there arenâ€™t any other suitable ones in the local vicinity â€“ the LEA could provide “home schooling”.
There is a duty to provide education but thatâ€™s it.
I don’t understand the near hysteria about the mortal defeat of misogynist radicals. For the sake of argument let’s assume the HuT conspiracy is an accurate depiction of reality. In what way does this help any future child? I’d always hoped that an institution would be held accountable for its practices and give any child a specific rationale for denying them their request.
With the introduction of faith based schools I’m weary that all this will lead to is a greater segregation of society.
By holding an institution accountable for its policy its actively responsible for doing absolutely everything for a particular individual. All this ruling suggests to me is that problematic or dogmatic family’s will be shunted out of the education system when the very opposite is necessary.
Instead of dealing with a patriarchal and deeply insular family head on and doing everything to keep a child in heterogeneous environment the school will find it far far easier to get rid of and exclude the problem child. That exclusion may not even comply with the law. It no longer matters.
Those privately run schools will ditch problem students, faith based schools will introduce whatever form of uniform they wish and if those that donâ€™t share their faith donâ€™t agree they can leave. This wonâ€™t be cohesive in any way.
All the media backslapping and general joy at her losing will be shortlived. The institutions that we hope will instill commonality amongst a diverse set of individuals will find it more prudent to aim for a homogenous makeup that gets them further up that blessed league table.
Any future Shabina Begums won’t find a way to interact with people outside their immediate family, they may well end up just sitting at home. How sad.
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Filed in: Civil liberties,Moral police