UPDATE: Abramjee’s Jeppe Girls tweets under fire from parents

Image: Pexels

Image: Pexels

The MEC of education has been approached to look into the alleged discrimination against Muslim learners at the school.

The Citizen reported on Wednesday that social activist Yusuf Abramjee, formerly of 702 and Lead SA, had called on Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to take action after a series of tweets alleging that Muslim students have been banned from wearing scarves with school uniforms at Jeppe Girls High.

Abramjee tweeted that Lesufi has requested a probe into alleged religious discrimination at the school. In an email, Abramjee said “the MEC has confirmed a probe is underway”.

In a letter sent by the school to a learner, posted in a tweet by Abramjee on Wednesday, a representative of the school’s governing body accuses the learner of not adhering to the dress code for Muslim learners.

Abramjee claims the dress code, with rules including that head scarves may not be worn with the school uniform, is “unconstitutional and discriminatory”.

A person close to the situation, who spoke with reliable authority, said that the the issue is not that learners are not allowed to wear head scarves, but that they can’t wear scarves with the official uniforms. They are given a simple black cloak to wear. The scarves may not be worn with the official school blazer or the official school colours. The learners and their parents argue that this isolates them and stigmatises them.

In contrast, Parktown Girls makes special scarves that are colour coded and matched with the uniform and tell parents where they can buy them.

However, Abramjee’s claims have faced a backlash from parents at the school who say Muslim learners are indeed allowed to wear scarves.

The parents took to social media to voice their disapproval of the allegations, with one parent dismissing them as “absolute hogwash”.

It may be the case that Muslim parents and learners’ objections to not being able to wear scarves with the official uniform have been misconstrued by some parents as Abramjee claiming in his tweets that the learners are not allowed to wear scarves at all.

Parents voice their disapproval regarding allegations made by Yusuf Abramjee towards Jeppe Girls High School on Twitter. Picture: Facebook screenshot.

Picture: Twitter screenshot.

A former learner at Jeppe Girls High, herself a Muslim, says that she saw no evidence of discrimination while at the school.

She says that while she was there, learners were allowed to wear traditional Muslim dress as long as the school logo was displayed.

The ex-learner feels that the learner who received the letter was “maybe not abiding to the actual school rules regarding Muslim dress. From my experience those rules were not discriminatory”.

The school was approached for comment on Wednesday morning and have not yet responded.

This is a developing story and we will continue to contact the relevant people in the hope of fully representing both sides of the issue.


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