Advice wanted on wording this letter

(381 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

montrealmum Tue 08-Jul-14 19:36:45

Dear XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX,
We are writing to express our concern about the Year 8 Religious Studies Visit scheduled to take place this September.
Parents have been informed that girls who wish to attend the trip are required to wear trousers and a headscarf as a mark of respect for the religious institutions they will be visiting.
It is also our understanding that girls who do not wish to wear the headscarves or trousers, or whose families feel it does not accord with their beliefs, will be working on their own at school that day on Religious Studies coursework.
While I fully appreciate the need to dress respectfully on a visit to any religious institution, I feel I must draw a line at my very young daughter being compelled to wear clothing items intended for women to express their sexual modesty. Just as I feel it would be utterly wrong to compel a Muslim girl to remove her headscarf in order to participate in a school activity, so I feel it is wrong to compel my daughter, or any other girl, to wear one.
It would be very easy for us to simply agree to this request on the basis that the headscarf may be seen as nothing more than a temporary fashion accessory, to be worn for an hour or so. However, I am sure that a Muslim would not regard it as such, and nor do we. While respect for religious traditions is surely admirable, is it not the case that respect for our views as atheists and feminists are equally worthy of consideration?
We would urge the school to consider whether such an approach does truly promote community cohesion � surely with a little more communication, an agreement could be come to which is mutually agreeable to all. We would hate to think that any girl�s first exposure to Islam would be one of unnecessary compulsion.
Perhaps an agreement that girls have the symbolism of the headscarf explained to them, and are given the option to wear one on the day, would be more conciliatory. Or at the very least, that an option is given to those girls who choose to abstain that is not tantamount to an internal exclusion.
Given these objections, we find ourselves in the unenviable position of having to choose between our sincerely held beliefs and putting our daughter in a position where she feels excluded and socially isolated.
We therefore reluctantly give our permission for her to attend on the day and follow the strictures set down, but do ask that you give serious thought to our concerns about this matter.
We would like to thank the school for their choice of role models for the girls, such as Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst, women who understood that following social conventions is not always the best choice to make.
Thank you for your time,
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

BucksKid Tue 08-Jul-14 19:39:02

This ain't gonna work.

If you feel this strongly you need to not give permission. Otherwise the letter is really weird.

WaffleWiffle Tue 08-Jul-14 19:42:13

Is this really ffor real or are you just sensationalising?

I don't even know what to say.

gymboywalton Tue 08-Jul-14 19:42:24

so.....if your daughter went on a school trip to the vatican would you refuse to allow her to wear long sleeves and trousers? because that is what you have to wear-things that cover your shoulders and knees?

that is the same in most christian churches in europe.

would you refuse to allow your son to wear a skullcap on a trip to a synagogue? because that would also be required.

you want her to go on the trip-she has to obey the rules. simples.

hesterton Tue 08-Jul-14 19:44:52

It's part of the day out, dressing appropriately. I simply cannot see your point at all.

titchy Tue 08-Jul-14 19:47:12

Dear xxxxx

Thank you for the information regarding the visit to xxx.

We give permission for our daughter to attend and will ensure she dresses in the appropriate manner described.

Yours sincerely

Xxxx

That any good?

knitknack Tue 08-Jul-14 19:57:39

This will be a trip to a guardwara (Sikh temple) I expect. We go every year. It's a beautiful religion in which women's roles are actively promoted. You'll be doing a huge disservice to your daughter if you don't allow her to go.

If it IS a Guardwara, boys AND girls will need to cover their heads and remove their shoes.

knitknack Tue 08-Jul-14 19:59:05

Also, your complaint is with organised religion, NOT with a school trip designed to teach cultural diversity and acceptance...

LeBearPolar Tue 08-Jul-14 20:02:27

I agree with BucksKid: no good writing that letter if you are allowing her to go. It's meaningless as an expression of principles then, surely?

Littleturkish Tue 08-Jul-14 20:02:28

Have you never visited a temple in a foreign country and followed the dress code rules?

You might be trying to sound liberal and accepting, but you really sound very narrow minded.

happygardening Tue 08-Jul-14 20:09:47

So if your daughter went to spend a day with a Jewish family would you complain that she wasn't allowed a ham sandwiched for lunch?
I am unsure montreal* if your letter is for real or if this some kind of joke. I too am a died in the wool atheist I expect people to respect my beliefs in my house but if I visit houses/religious buildings of any religion I would do everything I could to respect their beliefs and customs if you only for the simply reason that it's just good manners and as we know "manners maketh man" but I would actually feel privileged to be invited and thus would want to do as they ask.

Molio Tue 08-Jul-14 20:18:25

I think you may have too much time on your hands?

Agree about lack of manners/ weird.

ArabellaRockerfella Tue 08-Jul-14 20:27:24

There is no religion on earth or atheism who's belief preclude that they must always have their head uncovered! So your personal views are not being assaulted by this simp request.
You are digging yourself into a very deep hole and sound like a truly sectarian bigot!
What message do you think that you are teaching your children?
If you think you are making a feminist stand then I think you need to study your world religions more! Even men cover their heads in many places of worship!
I think perhaps you should volunteer to join the trip as a parent helper, you may learn some valuable lessons and become a more considerate person and role model for future generations.

magpiegin Tue 08-Jul-14 20:39:41

If you are allowing her to go then your letter will make no impact. They give you the choice whether she goes or not so it's up to you if you're comfortable with it or not.

I think you're trying to make a mountain out of a molehill in my opinion.

Frontier Tue 08-Jul-14 20:48:04

Surely the school hasn't set the rules? If she /they don't comply she will be denied entry, so there'd be no point her going.

I agree, you think you're being all liberal but you're actually being very uptight. If you visit any building/institution/home you respect the traditions/rules of that place. If you don't want to do that, you don't go.

ArabellaRockerfella Tue 08-Jul-14 20:52:22

So by the same measure you will write a similar letter when your daughter is invited on a trip tho the farm that requires wellies or a swimming lesson that requires a swim suit and googles and a cookery lesson that requires an apron?

montrealmum Tue 08-Jul-14 21:42:16

OK, so the message is, no point in expressing a view unless you do something dramatic to back it up? Are you seriously saying that simply asking someone to carefully consider their position without enacting a demonstration is pointless? So words and discussion are now officially useless? I despair.

montrealmum Tue 08-Jul-14 21:44:43

Arablella whatever,
Swimsuit wearing to a swimming lesson is not analogous, and you know it. Don't demean yourself.

titchy Tue 08-Jul-14 21:49:18

Expressing a view is one thing. Expressing a bigoted, narrow minded ignorant view full of intolerance and lack of understanding is quite another.

OddBoots Tue 08-Jul-14 21:49:20

The school have two options - run the trip or don't - they do not have the option of defying the dress code to attend a privately owned building. You are not going to be able to change that because they can't change that.

fourcorneredcircle Tue 08-Jul-14 21:53:14

So a few years ago I went to Istanbul with my best friend. We wanted to visit a few mosques so we choose one day to do that and my friend and I dressed appropriately in long sleeves and long trousers. We both carried a scarf to cover our heads too. At the entrance to one of the larger mosques they were giving the long lines of tourists (male and female) sheets to wrap over their bare legs and shoulders. An old man walked up to my friend an I when we got to the front of the queue and touched our heads after we covered them. He then said 'thank you'. He then gave us a personal tour and wouldn't accept money - we put it in a collection box instead. A little respect got us a long way. I was 18 years old and only knew how to dress properly and respectfully for someone else's religious building because of trips like this, you are teaching your daughter completely the wrong lesson here.

montrealmum Tue 08-Jul-14 21:56:22

I think the essential point is being missed here - obviously, as a free adult, if I don't agree with a dress policy, I don't go. My eleven year old daughter is not free to make that distinction on a school trip, and attends a non - denominational state school. The distinction is clear.

fourcorneredcircle Tue 08-Jul-14 21:58:38

The school might be non denominational but the world isn't - if she experiences things like this now she will be more understanding of that as she grows.

titchy Tue 08-Jul-14 22:00:00

But she (or you) are free to make that distinction - she can stay at school. Simples.

montrealmum Tue 08-Jul-14 22:00:06

Odd Boots,
If I may clarify? Spoke to the organising teacher and specifically asked if request had come directly from the institution in question. Was told that school decided it was easier and more direct to pre-empt by assuming that this was the case.

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