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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 May 2007, 00:28 GMT 01:28 UK
Teachers backed over Muslim wear
Lord Falconer
Lord Falconer will say teachers should use common sense
Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer will tell headteachers common sense decisions stopping Muslim pupils wearing Islamic dress would not breach human rights.

He is expected to tell the National Association of Head Teachers' annual conference that teachers who act properly should not fear legal action.

He will back the decision of a Luton school to stop a Muslim girl wearing the jilbab, a long gown.

But he will stress the need for schools to consider the local community.

Lord Falconer will tell the conference in Bournemouth human rights are based on freedom, equality, tolerance and respect which are truly British values.

Sensitivities

They are not at odds with common sense decisions, he will say.

The Lord Chancellor will argue those who act properly in response to issues such as those raised in Luton should not fear a legal challenge under the Human Rights Act.

Find out about different styles of Muslim headscarf

He will also stress schools should weigh up the sensitivities of their local community when devising policies on issues such as school uniforms.

Last year, the Law Lords ruled that Denbigh High School was justified in banning Shabina Begum from wearing the jilbab but it took a lengthy legal battle before this was established.

She had worn the shalwar kameez - trousers and tunic - and headscarf to school before saying her religion required her to wear the jilbab.

Government guidance says schools can decide their own uniform code in consultation with the community.


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