An Islamic School based in South London, United Kingdom has suspended one of its pupil for interacting with a member of opposite sex on its premises. The school has quoted the incident as ‘breach of Islamic ethos’ as per its policies. While the parent have called the policy as nonsense, the education department has launched an investigation into the incident.
Mr Qasim Ahmad founded the Al-Khair School in the year 2003 and currently the school has over 350 pupils in both its primary and secondary school. Earlier during a snap inspection last September, the schools inspectorate Ofsted had rated Al-Khair School “outstanding” for promoting pupils’ personal development.
The behavior policy at Al-Khair school prohibits communication ‘through any medium (e.g- verbal, email, messaging, etc)’ between male and female students who are considered non-mahrams (not close relatives) in senior schools. Supporting the decision of School, Mark Thomas, Spokesman for the school, said, “The school’s policy is clearly published and parents send their children (to the school) in the full knowledge of the code, which only prohibits communication not conducive to the educational environment we promote.”
The school accommodates both male and female students in the same building, however they are taught in separate classes. The School has mentioned ‘free-mixing’ as a ‘high level’ offence and has listed it along with ‘drug dealing, stealing, extortion, bullying, smoking, racism and arson’.
The UK Department for Education (DfE) has started the investigation, the school’s policy may be in breach of the Equality Act or the independent schools standards that operate in fee-paying schools. As per the department’s rule, schools are required to teach its pupils to live by British values, including respect for the law, democracy and the right of women to be treated on a par with men.
Education Department’s Spokesperson said, “We are clear that gender segregation of this type has no place in our schools and that boys and girls must be allowed to communicate. The secretary of state has asked Ofsted to urgently investigate this incident. If the school has breached its duties under the Equality Act or the independent school standards, we will not hesitate to take immediate action.”
The parent of the suspended pupil alleged that the policy of school is restricting the overall development of students. They said, “How are these kids going to integrate in the wider shape of society when they have to work in the same places that (people of the opposite sex) are working? To me, as a Muslim parent, if my daughter or son goes to a Muslim school and she or he speaks in good manner to any boy or girl, regardless of what background, it doesn’t matter, because I believe this is not against my religion. What is this nonsense policy? I cannot understand it.”
The identity of the suspended pupil has not been disclosed for legal reasons.