Nottingham Academy pupil in tears at being told off over Islamic locket

Parents of a six-year-old girl have asked for her to be moved to a new class after a row about a religious necklace.

Nottingham Academy pupil Saniya Tariq, of Bakersfield, was asked to remove her taweez – an Islamic locket containing verses from the Koran – after she was playing with the rope it was attached to.

The academy has since agreed with Saniya’s father, Muhammad Tariq, that she can wear the item on religious grounds under her polo shirt at all times except in PE and swimming.

Children are discouraged from wearing jewellery in the school, apart from one pair of plain, metal studs in the lobe of each ear.

Year two pupil Saniya said she was crying when her teacher told her to take it off. “I wear it every day,” she said. “My taweez means a lot to me and I think she should have asked my parents before making me take it off.”

Mr Tariq, 34, said: “My daughter was really upset about it when she came home. She was in tears when I picked her up.”

Mr Tariq said he would have preferred to have been informed instead of having to talk to Steve Jones, head of school for the Nottingham Academy primary phase, in the open arena of the playground.

“I think it will be better if she moves to a different class,” said Mr Tariq. “The whole thing really upset her and I don’t think she is happy in the class any more.”

Her mother, a teacher who did not wish to be named, said: “A lot of Muslim children at the school wear this type of jewellery, so they should have known or at least asked her about it first.”

She said that Saniya had not had any problems with the taweez when attending year one at Nottingham Academy. “I’m pleased we’ve managed to get it sorted but I’m surprised that they haven’t come across a taweez before,” she said.

Mr Jones said: “After speaking to Mr Tariq about his daughter, we decided Saniya could keep her necklace on in school, under her polo shirt, apart from the PE and swimming lessons. We would always consider exemptions on the basis of religious principles. Indeed, in Saniya’s case, we were able to reach a compromise with Mr Tariq.”

Nottingham Academy has a strict rule that all pupils must wear the full academy uniform. “We believe this helps to create a climate for learning which helps our pupils to be successful learners,” added Mr Jones.

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