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DDs school trip and expected attire.....

164 replies

BabylonReturns · 28/05/2013 16:32

Right, I'm perfectly prepared for a roasting/flaming whatever, but please please please understand I'm not posting this to be goady or otherwise.

If you think IABU then I will accept that graciously, I'm asking as I'm really not sure.

Ok, second week back after half term, DDs school (ks2) are going on a trip as part of their religious studies education. The trip costs £5, no problem.

As yet, I am unaware exactly where the trip will be, but have been advised in writing that boys are expected to wear long trousers and girls should wear tights or trousers and will be expected to cover their hair and lower half of their faces in accordance with cultural requirements in a place of worship.

DD isn't very happy about wearing tights or trousers in June, she's very much a summer dress kind of girl regardless of the weather Hmm
She certainly isn't happy about covering her face up, doesn't mind her hair being coves as often wears a cap or hat, but really doesn't want to wear a scarf over her face.

So AIBU to make her wear the scarf, and would a mumsnet scarf be ok?? I don't really do scarves so a mn one is all I have! DH is saying he would prefer her not to go at all, and if the roles were reversed, would the cultural wearers of the scarves be asked to remove them to enter our local church?

Again I just want to reiterate I'm not looking for a bun fight regarding religions, I accept that different cultures do different things, and that's fine, but if my dd is expected to do as they do when visiting them in their place of worship, are they expected to do the same and fit in with us in our place of worship?

I'm sure I haven't conveyed this well at all Confused

OP posts:
HoHoHoNoYouDont · 28/05/2013 18:09

Good point curry

greenfolder · 28/05/2013 18:10

my dds did trips like this. i think this is important, even more so at the moment. i happen to live in a very white british town- really minimal levels of any diversity. i teach in a large town with very mixed background- typically 40% of asian background.

visiting places of worship and showing respect is part of a rounded education. i am an atheist but that is no excuse for ignorance.

MissAnnersley · 28/05/2013 18:10

It is very unusual for the face to have to be covered. Having visited a gurdwara with a class the only requirements were for heads to be covered.

However it was only once and therefore is very limited experience.

HoHoHoNoYouDont · 28/05/2013 18:14

I think to follow the dress code shows respect for the religion who's church etc you may be entering however if you choose not to wear the suggested clothes I don't think it would be fair to restrict entry either. Not saying that would happen but it might.

SoupDragon · 28/05/2013 18:16

curryeater I can assure you that any sanctimonious tone is entirely of your own imagining,

Boosiehs · 28/05/2013 18:17

Even visitors to the central mosque in AD don't have to cover their faces. In fact whenever I've visited mosques (travelled a lot in SE Asia) they give you a long coat to wear over clothes and a scarf but never a veil.

I agree its very important to learn about religions.

Personally I find it ridiculous that women are required to be covered, no matter what religion, as if we have to protect men from jumping on the first pair of calves they see. They are views from the middle-ages and totally anti-feminist. However, I wouldn't go out of my way to offend anyone.

SoupDragon · 28/05/2013 18:17

Please feel free to make wild assumptions though.

HollyBerryBush · 28/05/2013 18:18


visiting places of worship and showing respect is part of a rounded education. i am an atheist but that is no excuse for ignorance.

Well said, well summed up

FreyaSnow · 28/05/2013 18:19

"Remind her that she only has to conform for a day - other girls have to conform all the time."

Using a trip to a religious place of worship to show that other girls have to conform all the time seems very prejudiced to me. Why not use an example from the children's shared culture to teach a lesson on conformity for girls?

FreyaSnow · 28/05/2013 18:25

HBB and Greenfolder, could you explain which religion it is that has the mainstream belief that primary school age girls need to cover their faces or body parts beyond that covered by a school uniform when visiting a place of worship on a school trip? It certainly isn't Christianity or Islam so I'm ignorant of what religion it is. Could you enlighten us as the OP didn't say?

RevoltingPeasant · 28/05/2013 18:25

thea respecting other people's beliefs doesn't mean conforming to them.

'Respect' is not simple. I 'respect' people's right to hold certain beliefs. That doesn't mean I think their beliefs are right.

For me, the big sticking point here would be the difference in how boys and girls are treated. If it was 'everyone has to cover their heads as that's what this religion does' it would be less of a problem. But DD is being asked to accept being treated differently because she is a girl. Perhaps she doesn't agree with that. Personally, I think there is a strong argument for not forcing young girls into situations where they are treated in a discriminatory fashion.

Like I already said, I think she should go, cover, feel uncomfy if that's how she feels, and then have a good talk with OP about why she felt that way.

But I feel about this like I feel when DC don't want to eat meat: deciding not to enter someone else's religious space if it means you feel discriminated against is a legitimate moral response and I wouldn't force it on a child.

RevoltingPeasant · 28/05/2013 18:28

Oh, and the reason I feel this way is - I grew up as a British atheist in the US. We were required in primary school to stand with our hands over our hearts and recite the pledge of allegiance which (then at least) included a reference to God.

I was not American, I didn't believe in God, and I had a big problem with being made to say I honoured America over other countries and believed God was watching over us. You could say, I was living there, I should've just mouthed the words and put up.

But I think teaching children to develop their own ethical responses to forced conformity is actually a big part of growing up.

Earthymama · 28/05/2013 18:32

She should have met the Matriarchs of the Church in Wales I attended as a very small child(!) in the 60s and 70s.

As a woman you were allowed to go bare-headed til about 21ish.

Then, woe betide you if you didn't have a selection of naice hats to match your 'costume' handbag and shoes on a Sunday.

I still have a default setting of thinking that any summer outfit of the full-skirted dress style would look even better with little summer weight gloves!

And I am a Pagan, who wears hippy style clothes, currently sporting a purple fringe.

I think your daughter will enjoy her day very much, will enjoy an insight into how faith and culture are intertwined in some people's lives and WON'T have to cover her face.

Then she can tell you all about it on her return. Win win.

An interesting series on some of the many faiths around the world is this

TheHumancatapult · 28/05/2013 18:34


But she could then discuss with dd about why she feels it wrong etc but I do think it be good for her to go

My 16yo took RS gcse planning A level he is an atheist and can explain fully why but he enjoys visiting different places of worship and even discussing what he feels is wrong but also can still respect people places of worship /beliefs even

It's all about opening dc mind to different things they may encounter in their lives

Fakebook · 28/05/2013 18:36

I've never heard of a female child having to cover their face in a mosque. I bet that's the school being ott in trying desperately hard not to offend Muslims but getting it spectacularly wrong.
Speak to the school about this or phone up the place of worship for confirmation.

As for the trousers or tights. Seriously, just tell her she's wearing trousers, no questions asked. Or ask the teacher if she can take the tights off when she gets back to school. Not a big issue really.

seeker · 28/05/2013 18:42

Earthy mama- oh, the hats!!!!

Xmasbaby11 · 28/05/2013 18:45


Buzzardbird · 28/05/2013 18:46

Sounds like a load of rubbish about the face covering. In the Gudwara males usually wear a bandana and girls just a scarf and long dress or dress with trousers. It is fascinating to see inside a religious place that you may not have visited before, I don't see what all the preciousness is about.

PaperSeagull · 28/05/2013 18:46

If your DD participates in this trip, she should abide by the rules of the place of worship. If you feel strongly that she shouldn't have to abide by these rules, don't allow her to attend.

I've been in many places of worship with different rules for men and women. I don't happen to be a religious believer of any stripe, but IMO it would be the height of arrogance to visit someone else's place of worship and flaunt the accepted customs.

RevoltingPeasant, children in the US can refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. There was a Supreme Court case about it years ago involving a Jehovah's Witness child. Of course, peer pressure can be a powerful tool, and it can be difficult to be the only one not participating. But US schools have no legal authority to require children to conform.

UniqueAndAmazing · 28/05/2013 18:47

Buddhism requires the removal of hats and head coverings in their temples.

I gave never heard of having to cover your face in a religious establishment, though, especially in a child.

I say send her along iwith the mn scarf and let those in charge advise how to wear it.
a long skirt is fine, trousers or tights are more revealing (they show the shape of the body)

lougle · 28/05/2013 18:51

This is the point where your DD can learn that sometimes, other people's feelings and principles are more important than hers. She may not want to cover up, but she will cause offence if she doesn't.

If you are worried about your place of worship, the following verses might put you at ease:

"Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall." 1 Corinthians 8:17

""But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours." Matthew 17:27 (Taxes were demanded, and they paid to prevent offence, not because the tax was justified).

"Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister." Romans 14:13 (Wearing incorrect dress would be an obstacle to them).

"We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited." 2 Corinthians 6:3

So, simple. Teach your DD that she should respect the dress code even if she doesn't agree with it.

blueemerald · 28/05/2013 18:52

I was a TA for 4 years and have been on about a dozen trips to places of worship, I've never ever heard of face covering been mandatory for any age (I worked in a secondary school) and up to 13 there weren't any strict rules about covering arms and legs. Places that required covered hair provided shawls for this purpose.

I would request more information and make a judgement based on that. I wouldn't be happy for my 8 year old (or any age really....) child to go to a place that required a) her to cover her face b) imposed such contrasting rules on boys and girls but I would check that is the case first as, as I said, it seems very unusual.

HollyBerryBush · 28/05/2013 18:54

My 17 son is going to Africa shortly. They are told to wear long trousers and no vest tops, because locals will be offended.

He wouldn't be seen dead in a vest top but that is by the by, he will conform to the localised dress codes because he isn't the sort of fuckwit
like some I'm reading who seem to want to deliberately give offence on someones home turf. We are even having to look at cargo pants, which he also wouldn't be seen dead in, as it's not a country with a reputation for honesty pickpockets galore. But he will conform because he appreciates the old adage of "when in Rome".

There is a time and a place for making a stand against what you believe in - but you should extend that same courtesy to anothers place of worship. Or don't go if you haven't the social capability to not offend someone else..

FWIW I don't believe a word of face coverings

Midlifecrisisarefun · 28/05/2013 18:55

I did an 'O'level in R.S. in the 80s. We visited various places of worship, I wore trousers/jumper, I don't even remember having to cover heads! We had a great time and it was an informative visit and valuable in expanding my understanding of faiths, particularly as we lived in a predominately white, Christian area. We had to go to a larger city 25 miles away. we were also given handmade sweets

outtolunchagain · 28/05/2013 18:56

Actually this would bother me ,I am all in favour of learning about different religions and visiting different places of worship etc (my ds1 is also an atheist who did A level RS) and i grew up in a muslim country

However I know of no religion which requires pre pubescent girls to cover their faces and if indeed they are required to do this then it will be for cultural reasons and I do have some issues with this ,just because it is tradition does not make it right ,if small boys are not required to cover up then I just feel uncomfortable with small girls being treated differently.

At the very least i would want clarification from the teacher and i would want the children to have a clear understanding of why this is necessary .

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