Friday, 13 June 2014

School Denies Boys 'Cultural Dress'

Hampstead School has denied male students the right to wear 'cultural dress', the Trash can reveal.

The position, that was released in the latest Leaked Minutes of the School's Student Council, posed the opinion of the students that said "Boys should be allowed to use cultural dress to school". The school's reply to this was: "Raised with governors and this has not been agreed. Must use school uniform everyday". Now, despite the intensely poor grammar from both parties, a salient point on behalf of the students has been raised.

Now, for those not well acquainted with the language of bureaucracy and its many buzzwords, 'cultural dress' does not mean to say that sombreros and sandals should be parts of Hampstead uniform. What we assume, from the fact that this plea only pertains to boys, and girls in the school are already permitted to wear hijabs and jilbabs, is that when the minutes refer to 'cultural dress', they are actually talking about religious wear.

As per the school Uniform Policy, the only religious items boys are permitted to wear are "Turban/Yarmulke – Red, White or Black", which is great... if you are Jewish or Hindu. The school's uniform policy does not account for any Christians (of any type), Muslim males, Sikhs, Buddhists et al, which is rather rich from a school that boasts the fact it has over 50 different cultures in its students. Now, obviously Sikhs couldn't exactly carry around a Kirpan in school; that could be deemed an offensive weapon, but it doesn't seem to be beyond the realms or reality to incorporate Sikh shorts, combs or bracelets (which are banned, as per the school's jewellery policy). Again, it doesn't seem to be impossible to consider allowing Christians to wear a crucifix or rosary beads (because, whether or not we like it, this is still a Christian country), or Muslims wearing a Jellabiya, so long as it was black. We have to accept everyone's religious beliefs, rather than a select few.

Also this issue once again showcases the school's sexist leanings in an attempt to not offend, and to pander to the belief that females somehow need to be treated differently. This issue was revealed in the same document that said that they were removing the Girls' Only Area, so that it be replaced by a Quiet Area, showing that with enough poking and prodding from us, they can see the error of their ways. By allowing female Muslim students to wear their religious attire, they are giving preferential treatment to some minorities over many others, as well as preferential treatment of women over men.

We would call for the Governing body of the school to reconsider their stance on this matter, as we hope the school can see the error of their ways and move away from sexism and preferential treatment, and towards a more equal school. If one group should have the right to cultural and religious wear, so should every other group, or, in equal fairness, none should.

Like the bottom of any half-decent Hampstead School publication, here are some UNICEF Rights of a Child extracts that might contravene the school's current policy:
Article 2: "The Convention applies to all children, whatever their race, religion or abilities ... whether they are boys or girls, what their culture is ... No child should be treated unfairly on any basis."
Article 14: "Children have the right to think and believe what they want and to practise their religion."
Article 30: "Minority or indigenous children have the right to learn about and practice their own culture, language and religion. The right to practice one’s own culture, language and religion applies to everyone; the Convention here highlights this right in instances where the practices are not shared by the majority of people in the country."


  1. Christians don't 'wear' Rosary beads. They are used for prayer only. And Hindus don't wear turbans unless it's a ceremony or significant occasion. Sikhs wear them.

  2. Never thought I would say this,but the French have the right idea ,ban the lot This is England,we are a tolerant lot,your strength of belief should be strong enough that you don't need the fancy dress.

  3. When I was a student at Hampstead School we managed to get the uniform abolished. Then we invented our own regular styles of mainly cheap loons and comfortable teashirsts. We wore jewellery. We just wanted to be comfortable during our school day rather than trussed up in shirts and ties and not allowed trousers so would be freezing cold. We didn't manage to sort out the locker unavailability and had to cart around loads of hard back books ever day. I was horrified when I heard the uniform was back. The school told me the students were all delighted to have a uniform. Somehow I doubt that!