Muslim parents angry with Yorkshire school headmistress
From The Telegraph and Argus
The head of a majority Muslim school in Bradford, who sparked parents’ anger after sending out what they say is an “insulting” letter, says she stands by her comments.
Joan Law, principal at Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College (LBEC) in Thornbury Road, Bradford, has defended the letter, which called on support from parents and the wider Muslim community to help their children “achieve their potential”.
It was sent to parents in response to claims that the school was discriminating against Muslim pupils and failing to provide them with adequate education – claims that the school vehemently denies.
In the letter, Mrs Law said: “Sadly…some former pupils of local schools seem to have spent their late teenage years dodging police, driving around the streets in stolen cars and dealing in drugs. I am sure that you do not want that career for your child.” It continues: “Please help us to tidy up some of the appalling behaviour in BD3. I currently feel that a lot of the work we do is wasted since it is not in some cases (too many) followed up at home with strong parenting.”
But the head teacher came under fire from some parents and local councillors at a meeting attended by about 100 parents, who claimed young Muslim girls had been told to remove their headscarves for PE lessons.
They voiced concern over mixed classes for years seven and eight (that is age 11-13) and teachers encouraging “sexually provocative” dance routines.
There were also complaints that no prayer room is provided at the school, which is 90 per cent Muslim, and that case studies had been used in RE classes to teach children about contraception and sexual relationships.
However, Mrs Law, strongly defended the accusations made against the co-educational school.
She described as “rubbish” the claims children had been “forced” to remove headscarves, adding: “The girls are told, ‘take it off if you wish, if not, fold it around your neck.’ I think parents have misinterpreted that.”
Mrs Law said information about contraception was used in RE classes and there were mixed PE classes but that they were designed to help boys and girls interact with each other and develop socially.
Her point was to explain to parents that, while many former students go on to university and careers, almost as many become involved in car crime and drug running, Mrs Law said.
She said parents needed to work with the school to put an end to problems in the area.
Posted on 10/15/2009 5:34 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax