It looks as if the first controversy over the right to wear a niqab (full veil) at school is nearly upon us. Tory blogger Iain Dale, who has covered this quite even-handedly, reveals that:
The head teacher of Wycombe High School in Buckinghamshire has told a fourteen year old muslim girl that she will no longer be allowed to attend school if she continues to wear the Niqab as it does not conform to the ethos of the school. The school allows pupils of muslim faith to wear a veil as long as it does not cover the face.
The girl’s father has now applied to for a Judicial Review (funded by legal aid, natch), which is expected to be heard in the High Court in February. The head teacher of the school, Jane Wainwright, believes that the School must fight the case and has asked the County Council for its support and its financial backing. … If the girl’s father wins the case a very important precedent will be set.
Could this be another Shabina Begum? That case was an individual ruling rather than a general one, hence it seems to have set no precedent for the future. My view is the same as before: given that the school uniform allows for most interpretations of the religion, there is no need to allow every child their own rules. The same would apply if any Sikh kid wanted to bring a full-length sword to school – they can make do with a small symbolic kirpan. I wonder how long it will take for the papers to pick this up.
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Filed in: Religion