School threatens legal action after Muslim girl told skirt is ‘too long’ – The Guardian

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Secondary schools

Siham Hamud, 12, refused to wear shorter skirt and now parents face court over unauthorised absences

The parents of a Muslim girl who was sent home from school for wearing a skirt that was deemed “too long” are being threatened with legal action.

Siham Hamud, 12, described being bullied for her religious beliefs after being sent home every day in December from Uxbridge high school in Hillingdon, Middlesex, and told to only come back when she wore a shorter skirt.

She had been wearing an ankle-length skirt to school for years, but said she was shocked when teachers last month told her the attire was incorrect uniform.

The school says girls should wear black trousers or a black pleated skirt from official uniform suppliers.

However, the Siham’s father, Idris Hamud, 55, said short skirts contravene the family’s religious beliefs and his daughter had refused to attend school. The school has now threatened him and his wife, Salma Yusuf, 44, with legal action over their daughter’s alleged unauthorised absences.

Siham, who is now studying from home due to Covid lockdown restrictions, described feeling bullied for her beliefs.

“It makes me feel left out, because I can’t see my friends. They aren’t accepting me for my religion and that’s wrong,” she said. “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.”

A new school rule about the length of skirts was introduced two years ago, stating shorter branded skirts had to be worn.

But the family claim they only recently became aware of this change, and Siham continued wearing her longer skirt, unaware she was breaking any rules, until she was spoken to by teachers on 1 December.

Siham Hamud was sent home every day for three weeks because she refused to wear a short skirt or trousers. Photograph: Idris Hamud/SWNS

On that day she was sent home to change, but did not return to school. The same thing happened each day for the three weeks of term in December, her family said.

Siham’s older sisters, Sumayyah, 19, and Ilham, 17, both wore longer skirts to school without issue.

Hamud, an athletics coach, said his daughter was being denied an education because of her religious beliefs.

“All Siham wants to do is to wear a skirt which is a few centimetres longer than her classmates, and I don’t know why the school has such a problem with this. She is sent home to change into a shorter skirt then return to school later that day – but she isn’t going to change her beliefs in an hour.

“The school is threatening to take legal action against me, but I’m not forcing her to wear a longer skirt – it’s her faith and her decision to make. She used to love school, but now she goes to school crying because of this – it’s heartbreaking.”

The school sent the parents a letter on 9 December threatening action.

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.”

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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