Antwerp school bans headscarf concentration

The atheneum of Antwerp bans all religious symbols. ' This is a choice for more equal opportunities ', according to the management.

The Executive Board of the Royal Antwerp Athenea and Hoboken has decided from next school year to allow more political and religious symbols on the school. The main result of the new school regulations is that Muslim women are no longer allowed to wear their headscarf in school, and not even during the ' schoolgebonden activities '.

A defense-in-depth change, because both schools are predominantly (Muslim) pupils of immigrant origin. The two schools of GO! Education (community education) also carry a thorough gender equality policy and hammering on a constructive dialogue between philosophies and cultures. The Executive Board believes now that the situation can occur that pupils under social pressure be forced to wear a headscarf for example.

"Certainly is that some students leave our school or not feel welcome ' Director Karin Heremans, motivates the decision. ' You can't. A school has the task to educate young people so they can make their own choices. Every woman has the right to wear a headscarf. But every woman also has the right not to wear. '

On the Executive Board at the moslimaleerlingen however much understanding should not count. ' Without my head scarf I feel my naked. You're not like without clothes to school? ", asks Johnny from the fifth year Office.

Today, it makes her last exam. ' Also that yet. That they at least wait a day to announce this. Today I get nothing more learned. Anyway, after the exams I'm going to a new school search. '

Also at Muslim parents shoot the decision in the wrong way. ' The school should assess pupils on their abilities and not on the basis of their appearance, "says Mina Cairns, Member of the parent Council. ' I got to hear the news this afternoon by sms. On the parent Council is never discussed. Unheard of to have something like that so suddenly to decide over our heads. '

However this is a deliberate choice of the school, where three school years is thought about it. Last year it was already a intermediate line. Long black robes were no longer and also the face had to be free. But those rules were constantly with the clothing styles, thus .

"We also find it regrettable for the Muslim women who wear their headscarf from personal belief ', says Director Karin Haines. ' If this headscarf ban our pupils will cost, is hard to say. Undoubtedly some left us, but others will feel welcome again. Let especially clear that this is not a decision is against the headscarf, but one for equal opportunities. '

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