The blog of 22-years-old Khalid Jarrar of Baghdad. He has quite a story to tell. In fact the whole family do, if you follow his links.
Daily Archives: September 1, 2005
I have a link to this piece by Donna Jacobs Sife, a professional storyteller and writer, in the item below on school uniforms, but it is so apposite, so beautiful and so wise I really must make sure you do not miss it. Ms Sife is Jewish.
…It takes a strong and confident society, one with a clear and proud sense of identity, to embrace difference. Only a nation that is sure of itself is willing to be expanded by the experience of others, and to imagine something outside of itself.
But Australia has become so diminished that we want to take Christ out of Christmas. We trust ourselves so little that we cannot imagine coping with diverse religious expression. We think we will be weakened somehow by sharing in our varied mythologies and traditions. With the drive to secularise society, we tend to focus on the superficial rather than the essence of religious expression, forms that take the shape of materialism, or status, or singular truth, rather than the values and ethics that are held in the stories. In doing so, we forfeit part of our nation’s soul.
We all are challenged by difference. That is a perplexing truth about our species. It is one of the things we are meant to grapple with while we are here on earth. It is, I believe, one of the sacred tasks, to eventually be able to say, as did Gandhi, “I am Hindu, I am Buddhist, I am Jew, I am Christian.” To transcend difference and recognise only the shared humanness in us all. Not through denial of differenc e, but through acceptance and celebration of it. It is so often the case that the very thing we fear is what will set us free.
5.3.1 Decisions about school uniforms should be consistent with occupational health and safety, anti-discrimination and equal opportunity legislation. Aspects of the uniform related to safety, e.g. safe footwear, eye protection and hats, will need to be enforced as appropriate.
5.3.2 Each school’s uniform policy must be the result of formal consultation with students, teachers and parents or carers, including the Parents and Citizens’ Association, local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and School Council, where relevant. The consultation will be conducted in a manner appropriate to each school and be based on participatory decision-making principles. The school’s uniform policy and uniform requirements should be formally endorsed by the school community before implementation.
5.3.3 A school’s uniform policy should take into account the diverse nature of the student population in the school and not disadvantage any student. Economic, personal, social and cultural factors affecting students and their families must be considered when deciding on items of uniform. Other considerations, such as body shape or religious requirements should be taken into account in making a final decision on the design and fabric of school uniforms.
5.3.4 The school’s uniform policy and school uniform requirements should be reviewed at least every five years and amended where necessary. Groups within the school community may also seek a review when circumstances change significantly or issues arise…
6.1.3 Suspension or expulsion solely for non-compliance with uniform requirements is not to occur. Student enrolment cannot be contingent upon adherence to school uniform policy.
6.1.4 Students should not be disadvantaged where required uniform items are not available because of circumstances beyond their control.
6.1.5 Conscientious objections by parents to the wearing of school uniform should be respected.
6.1.6 Responses to students who do not wear uniform must be appropriate. They should be clarified, agreed upon by the school community and documented. Responses must be fair and consistent. They must not prevent students from continued participation in essential curriculum activities except where exclusion is necessary for reasons of safety. In this situation, alternative educational activities must be provided.
The fact is school uniforms in NSW are matters of convention, and strictly speaking are legally unenforceable. Fifty years ago no state primary school in NSW had a uniform; at Sutherland cast-off bits of World War II uniforms were fashionable, and very few boys wore shoes. Read the rest of this entry »