Peterborough schools say no to girls’ veils

The city’s newest schools have backed Government plans to ban pupils wearing full-face Islamic veils. Despite being still under construction, the Voyager School, in Walton, and the Thomas Deacon Academy, in Eastfield, have said they will ban youngsters from adopting religious full-face coverings.

New Government guidelines on school uniforms were announced yesterday and the report stated: “Schools must act reasonably in accommodating religious requirements, providing they do not pose a threat to security, safety and learning, or compromise the well-being of the whole school community.”

Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member for education Geoff Ridgway said he believed the banning of full-face veils was the right decision. He added:

“The facial reaction to anything which is being discussed is very, very important and by not having a veil it also takes away that feature of secrecy. Of course people are entitled to their own religion, but they have also got to be conscious of the society they live in. The society we live in is one where we want openness and transparency and eye-to-eye contact.”

Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 21 March 2007

And how exactly does the niqab prevent eye-to-eye contact, you might wonder. It sounds like a better argument for banning sunglasses in Peterborough schools.