A locality in Norway has decided to ban face-covering clothing in its secondary schools. Not just the niqab, the school board is quick to emphasize, but any article of clothing that happens to cover the face.
Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer has translated a media article about this surprising development. He includes this note:
Believe it or not, the county of Østfold in the eastern part of Norway has actually decided to make it illegal to wear the niqab in public high schools in the county. (High schools in Norway are secondary schools unlike high schools in the US.)
Will they be allowed to get away with such a brazen decision without any reactions from the Left and the Muslim community?
Let’s see how this plays out.
The translated article from VG:
Politicians in the county of Østfold are positive to the idea of a banning niqab in schools
Østfold is the first county in Norway that has decided that high school students may be forbidden to wear niqab or headgear that completely or partially hides the face.
The decision was made at the county’s education committee meeting on Wednesday. Venstre (the Liberals) and SV (socialist left) voted against the ban. It is now up to County Governor Atle Haga to draft the new school dress codes.
“We want to ensure that teachers are able to see their student’s facial expressions and reactions. The students must also be easily identifiable,” Haga tells Fredriksstad Blad [local newspaper], and stresses that the ban is not aimed at any particular religious group.
“The ban may also apply to scarves, hats and caps that students pull over their eyes,” he explains.
If the schools are positive towards the idea, the new law could be in place when the new school year starts in the autumn.
Venstre (The Liberals) say they opposed the ban because the party fears that it might discourage some students from getting a secondary school education.
“A ban will not make the problem disappear. I’m not a fan of anyone dressing their daughters in niqabs, but I know of families that will keep their daughters away from school if this ban is introduced,” says Per Magnus Finnanger Sandsmark, the local leader of Venstre.