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Irish schools ban full face veil

New guidelines for Catholic secondary schools in Ireland will not allow full face veils to be worn in the classroom. They also state that, should the situation arise, it would be reasonable to ask a pupil, or her mother, to uncover their face for a meeting,  but only on the understanding that no man will enter the room.

They advise that Muslim girls should be allowed to wear headscarves or veils. They also permit turbans for Sikh boys.

The guidelines are in an advisory booklet entitled: 'Guidelines on the Inclusion of Students from other Faiths in Catholic Secondary Schools”  which was was sent to over 450 schools this week.

The booklet was developed  by Aiveen Mullally, an expert on religion and culture, for the Joint Managerial Body, which represents Catholic secondary schools in Ireland, after several schools asked for clarity on how to work with pupils from other religions while maintaining their Catholic ethos.

Schools have been told that a clear admissions policy, stating that it is a Catholic school and explaining to parents prior to enrolment what that means, avoids a lot of difficulty. Problems like uniform or religious education should be discussed and resolved before the student is admitted.

The guidelines suggest that students of different religions cannot insist on their own religious instruction to be taught in the school, however, if a large group of one faith is present they suggest inviting a minister of that faith into the school during religious classes.

The guidelines also recommend the recognition of other religious festivals, provided the festivals and seasons of the Christian calendar are prominently acknowledged and celebrated.

To read the full guidelines see: www.schoolethos.ie/node/3356