School rocked by headscarf row


An infuriated parent of a Muslim pupil at Johannesburg’s Northcliff High School‚ who was required to have a concession card or permission slip to wear a religious headscarf with her school uniform, has compared the school’s practices to that of the apartheid regime.

“Our daughters must now carry concession cards to wear their head scarves at a public high school‚” Abeedah Adams said.

“How is this different from the dompas black South Africans had to carry in the past? “I’m not going to accept this.” Northcliff High‚ however‚ said the concession cards were meant to ensure law and order by pupils at the school.

“Where we have had parents make requests for a variation or change to the school uniform of any kind, such as the wearing of headscarves‚ growing of beards or wearing takkies for medical reasons‚ we have granted them permission‚” Jackie Todaro, the high school’s marketing manager, said.

Todaro said that Muslim pupils, who would most likely wear their headscarves throughout the year, were not required to have a new concession card made and signed each day.

One card was issued and could be used for the duration of the whole school year.

While the school followed Christian religion‚ the religion was not shoved down anyone’s throat‚ Todaro said. During assembly, Muslim pupils had the option to choose whether they wanted to take part in the Christian prayers or not.

However, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi intervened immediately after hearing of the concession cards.

“The school has just agreed to withdraw the cards unconditionally‚” Lesufi said on Twitter.

As the school had temporarily done away with the concession cards‚ Todaro said Northcliff would need to go back to the drawing board to find another way to ensure that pupils adhered to the school’s code of conduct.

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