School must resolve headgear matter - dept

2013-01-23 11:53

Cape Town - A Western Cape school has been given urgent notice to meet with the parents of two pupils who were kicked out of the school because of their religious attire.

Sakeenah Dramat, 16, and her brother Bilaal, 13, started at Eben Dönges high school last Wednesday, where teachers apparently asked them during the course of the day to remove their headscarf and fez respectively, Die Burger reported.

The siblings' mother, Nabila, said that during an interview at the school last year, they were told that the children could wear their headgear, provided that it was in school colours.

“Our district office has given the principal notice that he must meet the parents of the learners concerned as a matter of urgency and resolve the issue,” the provincial education department’s Paddy Attwell told News24.

Attwell said the department “believes that it is a simple matter to address learners’ religious beliefs by adjusting dress codes accordingly”.

The school’s principal, Wilfred Taylor, refused to comment on the matter and referred all questions to Attwell.

National guidelines on school uniforms say: “A school uniform policy or dress code should take into account religious and cultural diversity within the community served by the school.

“Measures should be included to accommodate learners whose religious beliefs are compromised by a uniform requirement.”

It further states: “If wearing a particular attire, such as yarmulkes and headscarves, is part of the religious practice of learners or an obligation, schools should not, in terms of the Constitution, prohibit the wearing of such items.”

The children’s mother, Nabila, told Die Burger they had been left “degraded and traumatised” and that they had laid a complaint at the SA Human Rights Commission.

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  • Nathan Lombard - 2013-01-23 12:23

    F.I.F.O. :)

      andrew.austin.718 - 2013-01-23 13:13

      I'm not sure which angle to this is more strange - that a school is so intolerant of people who wear religious attire, or that a God is so intolerant of people who don't wear religious attire ? Oh well, back to reality...

      Blackpoison - 2013-01-23 13:18

      @IMHO....NOW you've opened a can of worms! Good luck.

      WarrenStylin - 2013-01-23 13:26

      @IMHO - Is it the school that is intolerant of two people or two people that are intolerant of the whole school?

      andrew.austin.718 - 2013-01-23 15:03

      warren - the school is intolerant of the religious attire. The Children's parents are intolerant of the school's intolerance, the department of education is tolerant of the parent's intolerance of the school's intolerance, and religion is intolerant of common sense. Hope that makes sense?

  • ulandi.potgieter - 2013-01-23 12:30

    Yes please take it further they need the education and kind of roll models are these teachers?

  • kaapse.skollie.7 - 2013-01-23 12:38

    Firstly, the school had agreed to the headgear; Secondly, the constitution guarantees freedom of religion; Thirdly, this is 2013 - aren't we past all this intolerance already? All this fuss for nothing...

      LanfearM - 2013-01-23 14:20

      If the school agreed, then they should adhere to their decision. Yes we have freedom of religion. What we should have is freedom FROM religion!

  • eugene.muller.7 - 2013-01-23 12:41

    and this will pave the way for Rasta people to wear dreads with pride to school :-)

      simphiwe.charlie.5 - 2013-01-23 12:44

      as they should!

      kaapse.skollie.7 - 2013-01-23 12:54

      What do you have against Rastafarianism? It's an African faith and this is Africa.

      Gyspsydawn - 2013-01-23 12:59

      and why the hell not??? how will any of this pettiness detract from the pupil's ability to learn??? I find it pathetic that we are even discussing it! the only thing to be said here is that the school owed these children a public apology! Bullies! and if you dont like the idea teacher, go teach somewhere else, like Mars! idiot!

      celia.coates - 2013-01-23 13:53

      @ eugene, and a packet of zolle. But you are quite right it opens up the rules to all sorts of diversions and where do you then draw the line. School is the only place where school going children can feel completely part of the system in the way they look - that's why schools opt for a uniform vs casual wear. When they all look the same, no class, cultural or other differences can detract from the main purpose of being there, which is to attend school and get an education.

      LanfearM - 2013-01-23 14:24

      @ kaapse.skollie - err, you did know that the Rastafari movement was founded in 1930 in Jamaica, not in Africa. Although admittedly they see the old king Ethopia as the "second jesus" and think Africa is Zion, the promised land. It does open up a can of worms...

  • Mandy Casey - 2013-01-23 12:41


  • simphiwe.charlie.5 - 2013-01-23 12:43

    There is nothing to resolve, the school has broken the law and the headmaster must be punished. Six of the best would be a good start.

      kaapse.skollie.7 - 2013-01-23 12:51

      Unfortunately I can only give you one thumbs-up. You deserve more.

  • goyougoodthing - 2013-01-23 12:53

    Personally I think that in government schools, the school should be open and welcoming of different faiths and cultures, even though I don't believe in them myself. It's how we learn tolerance. However in a private school, christian, moslem, non-theist, whatever, the school and its' board should be able to impose whatever restrictions that they want. If you don't like the private then move on swiftly. In this case it looks like a government school so I think that the school is in the wrong.

      angel.moonsamy - 2013-01-23 13:04

      Thanks Your comments make a whole lot of sense : Some people above , with their comments, should read this CAREFULLY.lets not make this a Muslim vs Rest of them thing,.

      goyougoodthing - 2013-01-23 15:33

      Thanks Angel, religion is complicated... maybe it should be left at home but I understand that to some, wearing traditional gear is part of a very deep faith, so it's hard to leave it at home. Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating religion at all, but the schools cannot, as government schools, have double standards when it comes to religion. Either none, which would be a violation of human rights, or all, which is the sensible thing to do whilst religion is still tolerated in this world.

  • kaapse.skollie.7 - 2013-01-23 13:00

    Not to worry, Paddy Attwell will straighten out this school in no time. Northern Suburbs gives Cape Town a bad name...

      Rick.Gonzo.56 - 2013-01-23 15:04

      Yup. It's full of afrikaaner refugees who now pretend cape town and the wc belongs to them

  • manuel.p.quintino - 2013-01-23 13:08

    I'm on the mother's side, but traumatising?? Come on now

  • james.oliver.520562 - 2013-01-23 13:10

    Lets go with this and make it ok for all of us to grow dreadlocks and smoke some weed at school :-)

      john.fourie.18 - 2013-01-23 13:52

      Yes, wearing a headscarf is exactly like smoking weed.

      LanfearM - 2013-01-23 14:28

      @ john.fourie - you clearly don't know that james.oliver is referring the Rastifari religion.

  • chris.stuart.332 - 2013-01-23 13:16

    Public school then there should be nothing to do with religion on school grounds, take if off. If its a private school then its up to the school.

  • Deon - 2013-01-23 13:19

    Maybe change the headgear from white to blue and everyone will be happy?

  • Robert Frankol - 2013-01-23 13:20

    This is not Iran or Iraq...pls concentrate on education and not on trivial nonsense.

      Faradieba Rasdien Snyman - 2013-01-23 13:56

      this is SA & maybe u should go learn that dignity is an educational matter otherwise comments like your emerges

      riad.mahomed - 2013-01-23 14:11

      @Robet Frankol: Allow me to give you’re the benefit of doubt by saying that today must be your off day since in all fairness, on another day I’m sure your comment would have been more of an educated one.

      jacob.thelier - 2013-01-23 14:45

      @Riad if we knew any better we would have cut the cane ourselves

      riad.mahomed - 2013-01-23 15:01

      @jacob.thelier: allow me to be the 1st to thank your forefathers for not knowing any better, however at this juncture, I do not see the relevance of your comment to the topic at hand. Are you related to Robert Frankol?

      tokoloshe.eish - 2013-01-24 07:46

      This is the new RSA, not apartheid RSA, people with your mentality belong in Orania.

  • marius.strydom.5 - 2013-01-23 13:22

    Who cares.

  • amanda.p.barratt - 2013-01-23 13:26

    These poor children are being embarrassed and harassed all because their parents have indoctrinated them and their religion prescribes they dress in a particular way. Children should be able to decide if they want to believe in a supernatural being not their parents. That issue aside, the school is clearly discriminating against one culture.

  • davy.botha - 2013-01-23 13:35

    What is happening here is exactly the problem with society today,the intolerance towards others believes. To me it is indicative of a society that wants to say all should be treated equal but then deniese somebody there customs and norms. Same behaviour and mentality are becoming more common in the world and this always leads to conflict. Question what would the inplication be for the pupils in question to wear there cultural attire!

      riad.mahomed - 2013-01-23 13:58

      @davy.botha: A man of reasoning is hard to find amongst an army of idiotism. Well said and looking forward to reading the response to your questions.

      LanfearM - 2013-01-23 14:29

      Well, you know the old saying "all men are equal but some are more equal than others". Says it all really.

      toni.k.mcquillen - 2013-01-23 14:37

      Well said!

  • Bob - 2013-01-23 13:40

    What kind of keyboard Nazi moderator working a dead-end, minimum wage job goes around deleting perfectly valid comments here?

  • Michael Hawthorne - 2013-01-23 13:48

    Not fair to rastafarians to be in jail either

  • moi.carla.1980 - 2013-01-23 13:52

    In my eyes, this is a pretty simple matter. If the mother can prove that the matter was discussed with the school before hand and it was agreed upon, as she has stated, then the school has no grounds to stand on. Get the kids back to school, headgear included, and let them continue with their education.

  • bernie.sproston - 2013-01-23 14:05

    The headmaster might have used his scientific understanding of the universe to make his decision , while failing to consult the constitution . Which is wrong , but interns of what is, there is no right or wrong; only what is.

  • kavi.pillay.9 - 2013-01-23 14:07

    Religious intolerance in DA province.... Whoa what a shock. Where is Helen? Out to breakfast!

      kavi.pillay.9 - 2013-01-23 15:11

      The fact that this intolerance can go on in Cape Town, being a DA city in a DA province shows a lack of concern. Also I hope the SAHRC acts accordingly.

  • lizette.vanwyk.arts - 2013-01-23 14:15

    I would love to know what the motivation behind the teachers request was? If it was based on personal religious views (in plain, because these children are not Christians) they should be given a final warning or fired, you as a teacher have no right to take your personal religious views to school and impose it on children. Show some respect, it's a mutual thing you know! If that was the reason I may add! But we are not sure what the reason was, are we?

      nsda29 - 2013-01-23 16:28

      You know Liezette it will be disappointing if these teachers did this because because of religion. on the other hand having a school uniform means just that. Children must stick to school uniform. Black shoes and sccks, white shirt,school jersey, hair combed and studs or sleepers as earings. Back in the day this was strict. Some schools are still enforcing this whi I think its good. School policies must be respected because if we give children too much freedom they tend to abuse it. What harm will it do if the take the headgear off before the school starts and put it back on after school so that they all look the same in school uniforms. I stand corrected, I'm from old school, school uniform was school uniform and that was that!!

      chris.shield - 2013-01-24 13:49

      nsda29: "if we give children too much freedom they tend to abuse it" I agree up to a point, letting kids run amok is definately not the way but you need to be careful about curtailing their freedom with rules that don't stand up to any logical scrutiny. Pointless rules breed contempt for authority...

  • morne.lamont.7 - 2013-01-23 14:27

    Im not saying this is stupid , I am merely stating that everybody involved is bad luck when it comes to thinking !!!

  • jacob.thelier - 2013-01-23 14:31

    Well they want to take away our Christmas, i'm sure they can do without the non school uniforn regulations.

  • ruben.maistry - 2013-01-23 14:34

    When I was a scholar, each school had a standard uniform.Hair lengths for males was standard ie. we were not allowed to have hair grow over our ears and the length at the neck was restricted.Girls with long hair had to plait and tie back their hair with ribbons.Gym slips had to be a certain length over the knee.All wore ties and blazers especially when in public.This was a condition of the relevant school and all were happy.Having said that, the principal should have been explicit when interviewing the parents and students whereby the parents could have made alternative arrangements at a school that would accommodate such attire.Should there be no uniformity stipulated at schools one would find students with all types of head gear synonomous with cultural dress.People must respect all cultures but not necessarily accept them.One must be carefull when distinguishing between attire and religious beliefs.

      nsda29 - 2013-01-23 16:32

      I agree with you 100% my school was like that. Children now have fanche hair styles and make up to school and manicures!!

  • jawa.bunter - 2013-01-23 14:42

    A clear case of passing the buck. The spineless Department have failed to provide leadership. A clear policy statement is what is required. What do we get? Silence. Not my problem! Stick your head in the sand and hope that others make the problem go away.

  • kaapse.skollie.7 - 2013-01-23 14:57

    Cape Town is a proud modern multi-cultural metropolis. There's no place for a old-school redneck dorpie mentality in the big city.

  • clive.prince.14 - 2013-01-23 15:01

    Muslim schools are happy to take all religions and dress code is optional right ????.

      toni.k.mcquillen - 2013-01-23 15:06

      If they are attending a School that is religous in one way or another then that is what they agreed to and that is what they should abide by, but this lady got permission before enrolling them, so for them to do this is in poor taste, we walk into these situations with our eyes open, if a child is attending a Christian school then they need to to conform to their rules same with a Muslim school, but a publich school shouldn't be religously based, it is about education which should be the first priority of any school.

      tokoloshe.eish - 2013-01-23 17:28

      Eish Clive, Private religious schools, not funded by govt. can do as they please. Show me one Muslim Public School? You should send your kids to schools in Orania!

  • joe.mase.7 - 2013-01-23 17:30

    These teachers and principle should be fired; if they wanted to change the policy they should have first discussed it with the parents and not humiliate them. Take these idiots to court... this is not Oranje, this is the new SA.

  • Bob.Cee123 - 2013-01-23 18:40

    Having the headscarf and fez in school colours is a fair compromise, and as long as the parents don't expect the girl to wear a burqa then there is no good reason why these kids should not be allowed to wear their garments. It's not like the muslim parents have demanded that the other girls to wear headscarfs or something stupid like that. It seems the teacher/s who initiated the suspension/expulsion may have his/her/their own religious agenda. I am not a fan of religion in the slightest, especially Islam, but if the national guidelines even provide for this, within reason of course, then I see no reason why they should have been kicked out.

  • delano.els - 2013-01-25 09:28

    Stuff that. Batwoman can go a muslim school. The majority of SA citizens are christian, by far, so therefor why should WE always be the ones accomodating sh*t.??? If i want to go visit Meca I need to follow there rules and chances are I probably won't even be allowed due to my religion. An cultural diversity? Oh my word, I can a little Zulu boy attending school with his spear and virtually naked nobody with only a patch of springbok skin on his weener. And Jan-Hendrik going to school in his long johns and vellies. No man, something is wrong here. Yes, respect others, but bugger of out of my schools and go to your own. Its always the case, you have people coming into (forcing there way) others spaces and then everyone needs to accomodate and adjust the rules. That's rubbish. Screw the consitution as far as that part go...I'm Afrikaans, so if I go to a Xhosa school, they need to make sure they educate me in Afrikaans??? Yeah right...

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