London school threatens legal action over Muslim student's skirt
A London school is threatening to take legal action against the parents of a female Muslim student who wore a skirt deemed "too long" as part of her school uniform, The Guardian has reported.
Siham Hamud, 12, was sent home everyday in December from Uxbridge High School in the borough of Hilingdon and told to only return back to school once she had changed her skirt, according to her father Idris.
Siham has described being bullied for her religious beliefs and has refused to return to school. She had worn an-ankle length skirt for years before being informed by teachers last month that her attire was wrong.
"It makes me feel left out, because I can't see my friends. They aren't accepting me for my religion and that's wrong," she said. "I feel confused and annoyed that I can't wear what I want for my religion."
School regulations introduced two years ago require that girls at Uxbridge High School wear black trousers or skirts that fall below the knee.
Siham's family say they were only made aware of the dress code changes recently and wore the skirt without knowing she was breaking school rules. At the start of December teachers spoke to Siham about her attire.
Hamud, an athletics coach, is angered by the school's decision, saying his 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 centimetres longer than her classmates, and I don't know why the school has such a problem with this," he said.
"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."
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The school has sent Siham's family a letter threatening legal action. It reads: "Siham's absence is being recorded as unauthorised. 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.", the letter adds.
The school's principal, Nigel Clemens, said the matter was being examined according to the formal school complaints policy but offered no further details.