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U.S. to defend Muslim girl wearing scarf in school
March 31, 2004 5:09 AM   Subscribe

U.S. to defend Muslim girl wearing scarf in school. In its complaint, the government said the school district violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, which it said bars states from applying dress codes in a discriminatory manner.
posted by poopy (21 comments total)

 
cue inevitable comparitive analysis with the current situation in france vis a vis wearing of 'conspicuous religious symbols'. This pre-emptive malarkey is a reet laff.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:30 AM on March 31, 2004


With the move, the U.S. government takes a position directly opposite that taken by the government of France, which earlier this year banned Muslim head scarves in public schools.

Every once in a while, you gotta feel proud of this country. Here's an instance in which the federal government occupies the moral high ground over France. And over Oklahoma, of course. The Muskogee school district will back down presently and, one hopes, will feel sufficiently shamed.
posted by Holden at 5:51 AM on March 31, 2004


Every once in a while, you gotta feel proud of this country. Here's an instance in which the federal government occupies the moral high ground over France

- You cast your eyes far enough you can just about the french occupying the amoral high ground.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:57 AM on March 31, 2004


We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
We don't take our trips on LSD
We don't burn our draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin' right, and bein' free.

I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all

We don't make a party out of lovin';
We like holdin' hands and pitchin' woo;
We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy,
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

And I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball.
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all.

Leather boots are still in style for manly footwear;
Beads and Roman sandals won't be seen.
Football's still the roughest thing on campus,
And the kids here still respect the college dean.

We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
In Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.
posted by angry modem at 6:00 AM on March 31, 2004


The school has this equal opportunity notice on its home page:
The Muskogee Public School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex or qualified individuals with a disability in any of its policies, practices, or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, and educational services, in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws.
posted by Postroad at 6:42 AM on March 31, 2004


I commend John Ashcroft's department for remembering core American values involving an aggrieved swing voter constituency in an election year. Bravo! Actually, I don't care why they're doing it, because it's the right thing. Of course, a few years down the road, if this kid prevails, some judge might use the decision to force schools to allow kids to wear their gang colors. But for now let's look at ourselves in the reflection from the shiny sword of American freedom while we still wield it! Go America. Boo France.

(I should note that this is the kind of link that
upsets some people on MetaTalk.)
posted by Slagman at 6:58 AM on March 31, 2004


(I should note that this is the kind of link that
upsets some people on MetaTalk.)


- Is that necessarily a bad thing
posted by johnnyboy at 7:01 AM on March 31, 2004


> (I should note that this is the kind of link that upsets some people on MetaTalk.)

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by jfuller at 7:03 AM on March 31, 2004


"...if this kid prevails, some judge might use the decision to force schools to allow kids to wear their gang colors."

If this kid prevails some judge should should use the decision to force schools to allow gang colors. A school district can't have both selective enforcement of rules and equal protection. The courts shouldn't give this girl an exemption from the dress code because of her religious beliefs because any right thinking person knows that there is no place for religion in public schools.
posted by MikeMc at 7:59 AM on March 31, 2004


> any right thinking person knows

No no, that's what any left thinking person knows.
posted by jfuller at 8:06 AM on March 31, 2004


Maybe a derail, but why don't you yankees have school uniforms? Here in the UK, nearly every school does, allowing girls to wear skirts or trousers (depending on weather, religion etc) and with headscarves/ turbans allowed *in regulations school colours* - thus, no chance of gang colours/ football colours etc, but respecting religious dress codes.
posted by Pericles at 8:07 AM on March 31, 2004


Pericles, some public schools have uniform policies, but it's by no means a widespread thing. Personally, I'd prefer to see uniforms...which I realize sounds odd coming from a leftish libertarian...but clothes and the restrictions thereupon have become more distracting than anything else. I'd rather have school officials worrying about teaching basic math, science and language skills than policing the halls for contraband t-shirts or hijabs.

(Also, public schools means something different in the US than it does in the UK and some other western European countries. Public schools here are the taxpayer funded institutions which all children who are not in private academies or home school are required to attend.)
posted by dejah420 at 9:06 AM on March 31, 2004


How long is it until some wiseass says that his baseball hat is a religious article and should be exempt?
posted by dr_dank at 9:10 AM on March 31, 2004


Well, if you are a Cubs fan...
posted by bargle at 9:19 AM on March 31, 2004


I'd think that would warrant special-ed placement. :P
posted by dr_dank at 9:23 AM on March 31, 2004


School uniforms bother me a bit. I went to a public highschool without a dress code. I wasn't necessarily opposed to a dress code (though I like my t-shirt and jeans) but I had friends who went to a Catholic high-school with a dress code. They had to buy their skirts (the girls did look hot in their tartans though), shirts, pants and blouses from a particular clothing store. The clothing store therefore had a monopoly on clothing this particular group of students and so the prices were outrageous. I saw the same thing on a more affordable level at my public school. In gym class for some reason we all had to wear the same shorts and shirts. The cheap cotton t-shirt was expensive for what it was and so were the nylon shorts.

Money wasn't a big deal to me, I could afford the regulation getup at the Catholic high-school but I know a lot of my friends had a hard time doing it.

Now as far as religious exemptions: I don't care. If somebody wears a crucifix to school or work it doesn't affect me. If a teacher wears a crucifix to school it didn't affect me either. What did affect me was my grade 9 science 'teacher' proclaiming that evolution was bullshit but he had to teach it anyway. So in the same manner if somebody wears a head covering it doesn't affect me. If a teacher starts preaching from the Koran, Bible or Necromicon it does.
posted by substrate at 9:34 AM on March 31, 2004


My son's public school has a dress code, and it's fairly flexible -- boys have to wear khaki or blue shorts (or pants during the few cool days) and white, red or powder blue polo-type shirts. Many of the public schools in Palm Beach County have dress codes, too, requiring similar attire although not necessarily the same colors. These are generic clothes, and the stores compete mightily for the business. I believe that we pay less for his clothes than we would pay if there were no dress code. And it's nice that everyone is dressed similarly in a school where the socioeconomic scale ranges from the children of Haitian refugees and Guetemalan landscapers to the children of people who own million-dollar mansions.

And the administrators aren't stupid. Hats aren't allowed, but there are a couple of girls who wear hijabs. I don't know if elementary-age Sikh boys wear turbans, but if they do, the school would allow the turban if a Sikh boy wanted to wear one. It's just common sense and courtesy.
posted by Holden at 9:47 AM on March 31, 2004


dejah420 - yeah, the state schools here are analogous to your public schools. I too am a bleeding-heart hand-wringing homo-loving pinko liberal (TM) and wholeheartedly support school uniforms. In my daughter's school, it helps ensure that the rich kids aren't wearing their finery while the poorer kids aren't mocked/ bullied etc. But they're plain, easy-to-find clothes that can be found in almost any clothing shops. It's the public schools (= fee paying schools, go figure) where the parents are obliged to buy from one supplier (probably the governor's sister's shop.)
posted by Pericles at 9:49 AM on March 31, 2004


What Holden said (and substrate too)...Even if there were public school uniforms all over the country, she'd still have to wear her hijab, and she should be allowed to. Orthodox boys wear yamulkes to school, and no one tells them to take them off.
posted by amberglow at 9:59 AM on March 31, 2004


The courts shouldn't give this girl an exemption because... any right thinking person knows that there is no place for religion in public schools.

Seriously? This left-leaning atheist strongly disagrees.

Schools shouldn't teach religion and shouldn't favor religion, but there's no reason for them to prevent religious behavior which is not harmful to anybody else. Forbidding a headscarf, yarmulka, or Mormon undergarments is simply mean-spirited -- and possibly unconstitutional -- religious discrimination.
posted by callmejay at 10:41 AM on March 31, 2004


If this kid prevails some judge should should use the decision to force schools to allow gang colors.

Hmm, my copy of the Constitution has a First Amendment which says that the free exercise of citizens' religious duties shall not be infringed upon. But I'm not finding anything which guarantees the right to sartorially symbolize involvement in a criminal enterprise.
posted by Dreama at 11:15 AM on March 31, 2004


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