Parents of a 12-year-old Muslim girl have been threatened with legal action for refusing to send their girl to classes with above-the-knee skirt.
“I think they should just let me wear my school uniform to school.”
Siham, a student at Uxbridge High School, in Hillingdon, west London, has been wearing an ankle-length skirt to school for years.
In December last year, she was sent home from school to change every day, and told to come back wearing the correct uniform – but she refused.
“I find it annoying because I’ve missed a month of school, so I have to catch up a lot. I wish I could just have gone to school as normal,” she added.
“It makes me feel left out, because I can’t see my friends either. They aren’t accepting me for my religion and that’s wrong.
“I feel confused and annoyed that I can’t wear what I want for my religion. I hope they’ll change their rules so that girls like me wear skirts to school.”
According to the school officials, girls should wear black trousers or a black pleated skirt from official uniform suppliers, which the family claims falls above the knee.
The school sent her parents a letter threatening them with legal action for their daughter’s alleged unauthorized absences on December 9.
It said: “Siham’s absence is being recorded as unauthorised. Unauthorised absence may result in a fine being issued, or legal action being taken against the adults who have parental responsibility or day-to-day care of your child.
“Legal action can be in the form of a penalty notice or a summons to the magistrates’ court.
“I must ask that you support the school and your daughter by ensuring that she attends school in full school uniform with immediate effect.”
Hamud said both uniform choices contravene the family’s strict religious beliefs. The father added that Siham’s older sisters Sumayyah, 19, and Ilham, 17, have both worn the longer skirts to school without issue.
“My daughter is being denied an education because of her religious beliefs,” he said.
“All Siham wants to do is to wear a skirt which is a few centimeters longer than her classmates – and I don’t know why the school has such a problem with this.
“She is sent home to change into a shorter skirt then return to school later that day – but she isn’t going to change her beliefs in an hour.
“The school is threatening to take legal action against me, but I’m not forcing her to wear a longer skirt – it’s her faith and her decision to make.
“She used to love school, but now she goes to school crying because of this – it’s heartbreaking.”
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.
There are 400,000 Muslim students in British schools, according to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
There are nearly 90,000 Muslim students studying in higher education institutions. Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.