Muslim schoolgirl feels ‘bullied’ after school sent her home for wearing a skirt that was ‘too long’
A Muslim schoolgirl says she is being “bullied” for her religious beliefs after she was sent home from school for wearing a skirt that was “too long” and her parents were threatened with legal action.
Siham Hamud, 12, says she was sent home from Uxbridge High School every single day during term time in December and told to come back with a shorter, school-issue skirt.
The young girl’s father, Idris, said that his family follow a traditional branch of Islam, which means they "want to believe in their religion in a pure way", which means women should only wear long skirts.
Because of these beliefs, Siham refused to return to class in a shorter skirt, and now the school has threatened the family with legal action for her unauthorised absences.
Siham, who is currently studying from home due to Covid lockdown restrictions, said: "It feels like bullying because of what I believe.
Siham Hamud, who has been sent home for school for breaching the uniform policy
Credit: Idris Hamud / SWNS
"I think they should just let me wear my school uniform to school.
"I like school normally, and English, drama and RE are my favourite lessons but I couldn’t attend.
"I find it annoying because I’ve missed a month of school, so I have to catch up a lot. I wish I could just have gone to school as normal.
"It makes me feel left out, because I can’t see my friends either. They aren’t accepting me for my religion and that’s wrong.
"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."
Idris, an athletics coach, added: "My daughter is 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."
Father Idris Hamud with his daughters Sumayyah, now 19, and Ilham, now 17 and his son
Credit: Idris Hamud / SWNS
Siham’s older sisters Sumayyah, 19, and Ilham, 17, both wore longer skirts to school without issue, but new rules brought in two years ago state that school-branded skirts or trousers must be worn.
The school sent her parents a letter threatening legal action against them for their daughter’s alleged unauthorised absences on December 9.
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."
But Mr Hamud says he will fight any action taken.
"Siham makes her own decisions about her religion, and I can’t make her wear clothes she doesn’t want to wear, so neither should the school,” he said.
"She is being denied an education because of her religious beliefs, and I don’t know how anyone can get away with that."
While Siham has been learning from home since the new term began, Mr Hamud expects the issue to return once face-to-face teaching resumes.
He said the issue is due to be discussed on a complaints panel with the school governors later this month.
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."