The parents of a Muslim schoolgirl were threatened with court action for refusing to send their daughter to school in a shorter skirt.
Siham Hamud, 12 years of age, had been wearing an ankle-length skirt to school for years but was allegedly told by the school that the school uniform was incorrect. She was informed about this last month, December 2020.
Her father Idris, 55 years of age, said Siham his daughter was sent home from Uxbridge High School to change her school uniform every day in December and told to return wearing the correct uniform, but she refused.
The school, Uxbridge High School, in Hillingdon, West London, says girls should wear black trousers or a black pleated skirt provided by official uniform suppliers. The family says that the uniform provided by those officials falls above the knee. Idris, who has 8 kids, said both uniform choices go against his family’s Islamic religion.
The family said they recently discovered that a new school uniform rule about skirts was introduced two years ago, stating shorter school-branded skirts were mandatory to be worn. But the family claim they didn’t know about the rule put in place, and Siham continued wearing her long skirt, unaware until she was pulled up on December 1. She was sent home to change her uniform but didn’t return, and the same thing happened each day for the three weeks of term in December, her family said.
The school has now threatened Idris and his wife Salma Yusuf, 44 years of age, with legal action over Siham’s alleged unauthorized absences from school.
Siham, who is at present studying from home due to lockdown restrictions, said:
‘It feels like bullying because of what I believe. ‘I think they should just let me wear my school uniform to school. I like school normally, and English, drama and RE are my favorite lessons but I couldn’t attend.
‘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. ‘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.
Idris, an athletics coach, added: ‘My daughter is being denied an education because of her religious beliefs. ‘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.’
In a letter threatening legal action, the school wrote: ‘Siham’s absence is being recorded as unauthorized.
‘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.’
The school’s principal, Nigel Clemens, said: ‘This matter is currently subject to examination through the formal school complaints policy. It would therefore not be appropriate to comment further at this time.’