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College reverses niqab ban following student uproar

Posted on Friday, 13 September by


Birmingham Metropolitan College has made a sharp U-turn on its decision to ban Muslim students from wearing religious veils. The announcement to reverse the ban follows outrage from students and plans to protest against the decision today.

The reasoning from the college was that by banning the veil, they were protecting student’s safety by making them “easily identifiable at all times”. This, they said, also included the removal of hoodies, hats, and caps.

The college issued a statement explaining their reversal:

Birmingham Metropolitan College is committed to high quality education for all of our learners. We are concerned that recent media attention is detracting from our core mission of providing high quality learning. As a consequence, we will modify our policies to allow individuals to wear specific items of personal clothing to reflect their cultural values.”

The college have however reiterated that they will still look to confirm an individual’s identity in order to maintain safeguarding and security, alongside the necessity to comply with national regulations, examination board requirements and applicable legislation. They cited that the reversal on a niqab will restore confidence amongst students and stakeholders.

Niqab Tweet

David Cameron originally backed the ban, emphasising the college’s right to “set and enforce their own school uniform policies”. Nick Clegg was cautious in his approach saying he felt “uneasy” about an outright ban but can understand teacher’s concerns.

In contrast to the fence-sitting Liberal Democrat, students came out in their numbers complaining about the ruling, some describing it as ‘disgusting’ and ‘racist’. A petition to push for a decision reversal was set up by the NUS Black Students’ Campaign. So far it’s received over 9,500 signatures, just short of its 10,000 target.

Facebook NUS Post

A major factor causing the college to back down may also have been the planned protest which was set for today but has now been cancelled due to the students’ success.

Do Muslim veils pose a safety concern in schools and colleges?

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Chris Flynn

Chris Flynn

Contributor at SQ Magazine
Student at the University of Brighton and contributor to SQ Magazine. Passion for sport and keeps a keen eye on all things Brighton & Hove Albion.

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