Niqab-wearing mother excluded from parents’ evening

A mother was told she could not attend a school parents evening because she was wearing a veil. The 34-year-old woman who does not wish to be named claims she has taken the issue up with the school but she has been told she must remove her veil whenever she enters the school on “health, safety and security grounds”.

Speaking exclusively to Asian Image she said, “If I had been told this was their intended policy then maybe I would not have considered asking my son to go to the school in the first place. The whole situation has upset me and I don’t like going to the school any more because I always leave crying.”

The woman, who is also a former pupil of the school, said the policy was not in force before she enrolled her son at the school, neither was it in the school prospectus. She said the problem started in 2007 at Our Lady and St John Roman Catholic School in Blackburn. Since then the woman said she has been asked to remove her veil before she can step into the school.

Headteacher Mrs Gillen said, “Although a high percentage of our pupils are of Asian Heritage pupils she was the first lady to come to parents evening wearing a full veil. I have made it quite clear that I will arrange for her to meet with staff on a one to one in my office. The difficulty would be if a number of ladies wearing veils were free to wander corridors or rooms. It would not be feasible to monitor who is who.”

Asian Image, 3 April 2009

See also Lancashire Evening Telegraph and Daily Mail.