Education

Cape school amends policy to allow head scarves

Sapa

An SA school that previously denied its pupils the right to wear traditional attire, has changed its dress code policy in line with the Constitution.

Basic education department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said wearing religious attire was a constitutional right. (Reuters)

The Deutsche Internationale Schule Kapstadt, which previously prohibited pupils of all religions from wearing traditional attire, has amended its policy.

"Having considered all viewpoints, and having listened to advice from a variety of sources, the board has decided to amend the dress code to allow for exceptions to the school uniform for bona fide religious or cultural reasons," principal Hermann Battenberg said.

"This decision brings the dress code of the school in line with the South African Constitution."

Last month, a parent attempted to enrol his daughter, who is Muslim, at the school but was told he needed to sign a code of conduct that stipulated she could not wear any traditional headgear. The man did not sign the agreement, saying he could not force his daughter to do so.

At the time, deputy principal Christoph Abt said the school did not allow any pupil of any religion or nationality to wear traditional attire to avoid confrontation.

Education department response
The grade nine girl was granted temporary access as a "guest pupil", where she was not required to wear the school uniform.

She had been at the school since the beginning of the year and her guest access was prolonged twice to give her family time to find an alternative school.

During this time, Abt said she wore a traditional scarf daily. Her access was terminated and the pupil left the school.

Basic education department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said wearing religious attire was a constitutional right.

"Although it may be a private school, they should not operate outside the Constitution of the country," he said at the time. – Sapa

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