British school principals may ban religious dress, including the Muslim veil, from the classroom at their discretion, the Education Ministry said this week. While schools should still “make every effort to accommodate social, religious, or medical requirements of individual pupils,” said Schools Minister Jim Knight, “the needs of safety, security, and effective learning in the school must always take precedence.” The ministry announced new school uniform guidelines to clarify the rules after a 12-year-old girl lost a legal battle to wear a full-face veil last month. British Muslims were divided on the new setup. Tahir Alam of the Muslim Council of Britain said letting principals decide uniform policy was appropriate. But Massoud Shadjareh of the Islamic Human Rights Commission said he was “shocked” and “dismayed.”
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