School threatens parents with legal action after daughter refuses to wear short skirt

Siham Hamud

The parents of a London Muslim schoolgirl have been threatened with legal action because their daughter refuses to wear a knee-length skirt to school.

The Independent reports that Siham Hamud, 12, has been wearing an ankle-length skirt to school for years but teachers allegedly told her it was incorrect school uniform last month.

Her father Idris Hamud, 55, said she was sent home from school to change every day in December, and told to come back wearing the correct uniform. But she refused because it was “against her religious beliefs,” he said.

Uxbridge High School, in Hillingdon, west London, says girls should wear black trousers or a black pleated knee-length skirt from official uniform suppliers.

Mr Hamud said both uniform choices contravened the family’s religious beliefs.

Headteacher Nigel Clemens

The school sent the father and his wife Salma Yusuf, 44, a letter threatening legal action over “unauthorised absences” as a result of Siham being sent home from school.

It said: “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. I must ask that you support the school and your daughter by ensuring that she attends school in full school uniform with immediate effect.”

Siham, who is currently studying from home because of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, said: “It feels like bullying because of what I believe. I think they should just let me wear my school uniform to school. I feel confused and annoyed that I can’t wear what I want for my religion. I hope they’ll change their rules so that girls like me wear skirts to school.”

Mr Hamud added: “She’s always been a bright girl, one of the top in her class, and she loved school – and now they just keep sending her home. Siham makes her own decisions about her religion, and I can’t make her wear clothes she doesn’t want to wear, so neither should the school. She is being denied an education because of her religious beliefs, and I don’t know how anyone can get away with that.”

He said the issue is due to be discussed by a complaints panel with school governors later this month.

The school’s principal, Nigel Clemens, said: “This matter is currently subject to examination through the formal school complaints policy. It would therefore not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

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