Two Muslim boys kicked out of school because they would not shave off their beards will be allowed to return to the school unshaven.
The Guardian Both 14-year-olds had been placed in “isolation” from the start of the new term at Mount Carmel Roman Catholic high school in Accrington, Lancashire, and this week were sent home as the school maintained they had to be clean shaven. But the school has now performed a U-turn to comply with the European Convention of Human Rights, it explained.
Governors have taken the decision to only allow Muslim boys permission to grow a beard as a sign of their faith as long as they have started the Hafiz programme at their local mosques, which entails daily prayers and learning the Koran in Arabic.
Headteacher Xavier Bowers had previously stressed the matter was not one of religion but about dress code. Last week Bowers told the Lancashire Telegraph that the decision to place the boys in isolation had not been taken lightly. Speaking to the newspaper, he said: “I have spent quite a lot of time researching the issue and speaking to Muslim elders. There is nothing specifically written in the Qur’an about wearing a beard. It is a choice those boys are making. However inclusive we are, we have standards to maintain.”
Tonight, in a statement, the school said: “Governors at Mount Carmel have decided that there will be no change to the school rule which requires boys to be clean shaven. However, following discussions with leaders of the local community, exemptions will be made in certain clearly-defined circumstances.