A teenage English girl has taken her complaint to the High Court of England claiming her rights were abused. She was banned from wearing a “purity ring” which contains an engraved Biblical verse as a sign of her desire not to have sex prior to marriage. She argues that Muslim girls can wear headscarfs and Sikh boys wear their head garments but she is not allowed to wear a ring. A few years ago, a girl was told not to wear a crucifix because it breached health and safety rules.
I have taught in classrooms in which Muslim women wore face coverings as well as covering their heads. I adjust my teaching to respect the individual desires of students, but, for the life of me, I can’t understand how a girl wearing a ring interferes with the educational process. If anything, a female student who covers her face prevents other students from observing facial expressions as she speaks and thus it might be construed as interfering with education. Wearing a ring will not bother anyone. Let’s get some common sense into the debate about multiculturalism.
As an educator, I become upset when school regulations infringe upon the dignity and rights of students. I regard it as my responsibility to ensure that each student enjoys a sense of personal comfort in my class. I am still baffled how wearing a crucifix is violating some school safety regulation.