During the past eighty years, Turkey has worked hard to establish the principles of a secular state even though the vast majority of people are devout Muslims. The Constitution pushed by Ataturk made clear there would be no religious symbols in Turkish schools such as women wearing headscarves. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) which currently controls the government is pushing for relaxation of the ban on university females and wants them to have the right to attend class wearing a headscarf. This issue is now rippling into elementary and secondary schools which even the AKP agrees should not allow any religious symbol in classes. Zubeydc Kilc of the Education Personnel Union, argues: “Attending class with a headscarf may effect children negatively as they will be in an environment in which the majority doesn’t wear the headscarf. They may face exclusion and questioning by peers.”
Mr. Kilc raises an important issue, but children daily encounter issues in which peers have clothes or other items they lack. I attended a public school in a Jewish neighborhood in New York City in which a few boys wore the yarmulke. If they were a good athlete, none faced any problem since athletic ability was prized. A bright child can encounter problems, a tall child can, such is life. Relax and let children be children instead of seeking to protect them from life.