Stavropol student barred from school for wearing headscarf

The parents of a schoolgirl living in the village of Privolny, Stavropol Territory, are complaining that their daughter has been barred from school for wearing a headscarf.

“Today we sent our daughter to school on the school bus. The senior teacher put her back on the bus and it took her home. She has been barred from classes over the headscarf for about two weeks now,” the girl’s father Rizak Rizakov told Interfax.

Rizakov said the teachers are saying this decision has been made because of a decree issued by the governor. “My daughter is in 3rd grade. Other children don’t wear headscarves to school. There were three girls who wore headscarves, they have now removed them,” the source said.

The man said he has filed complaints with the prosecutors and intends to stand his ground. He also said his daughter has worn a headscarf to school since September 1.

In the meantime, the press service for the territory’s Education Ministry told Interfax these actions violate the school charter, which outlines requirements for students’ appearance. “They will be talking to the parents and the schoolgirl. If they don’t observe the school charter, they will be offered to choose a different form of education,” the ministry official said.

In October, the Stavropol Territory’s muftiat reported on complaints made by some schoolgirls’ parents saying that their Muslim daughters had been barred from classes for some two weeks for wearing headscarves. The incidents occurred at School No. 12 in the village of Kara-Tyube.

The issue of headscarves was discussed at the highest level on October 18. Russian President Vladimir Putin said, commenting on this conflict, that people’s religious feelings need to be respected, but the fact that the Russian state is a secular one needs to be taken into account.

“We always need to treat people’s religious feelings with a lot of respect. This should be manifested in the state activities, in nuances, in everything. Secondly, our state is secular and we need to work on the basis of that assumption,” Putin said during a meeting withPopular Front representatives.

The Stavropol Territory’s Governor Valery Zerenkov later ordered immediate work on the territory’s regulation governing students’ appearance. “There should be uniform rules in one territory,” he said.

According to the territory’s Education Minister Irina Kuvaldina, the Stavropol Territory’s schools will introduce a school uniform by December 20.

Interfax, 30 November 2012