The education ministry says that the school has no such right
In one of the schools located in Karajala village, Kakheti, a school teacher turned back a 7th grader because she was wearing a hijab and refused to allow her into class while wearing it. According to the director of the school, the pupil violated school rules, as students are not allowed to have headwear in class, be it a cap, a hat or anything else. Moreover, the school says that local women do not traditionally wear hijabs.
The parents of the girl accused the school leadership of infringing on religious rights. The Ministry of Education in Georgia has already reacted to the event and released a statement in which it said that the legislation of Georgia recognizes the rights of all peoples in religious matters; however, the school itself has its own rules which were developed together with the teachers, parents and the students themselves – these rules were approved of by the board of trustees.
“At the Karajala school, there is a rule that, during the academic process, students must not wear headwear. Unfortunately, this rule touched some religious issues and sentiments as well. The Ministry urges all sides to refrain from looking at the question religiously and to help regulate the atmosphere in a calm environment,” the statement reads.
The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association said that if a school rule infringes upon religious rights, the ministry can demand the leadership of the school to re-examine the rule. “According to the law on education, the school can set several limitations in cases where there is a threat or danger to someone’s life, health or to the academic process,” explains lawyer Lasha Bekashvili.
Do schoolgirls in Georgia have the right to go to school with a hijab? According to the lawyer, the law on education takes into account religious freedom.
“According to this law, one cannot force students to do something against their faith or conscience if it does not infringe upon the rights of other students and does not interfere with the quality of the academic process,” Bakashvili told the Allnews news agency. He also said that students have the right to refuse to wear the school uniform if it does not coincide with their religious beliefs.
- This is not the first case in Georgia when school girls have been forbidden from wearing a hijab. Last year a similar case took place with 18-year-old Teona Beridze.
- Then, the Ministry of Education justified the actions of the leadership of the school and stated that it had the right to forbid Beridze from coming to school with a hijab. According to the 2014 census, 11 percent of the population of Georgia is Muslim.