School Veils ‘Could Allow A New Dunblane’

Allowing Muslim girls to wear full-face veils to school could make Dunblane-style massacres more common, a judge suggested. Judge Stephen Silber was hearing a case brought by a 12-year-old Muslim girl against her headmistress’s ban on her veil.

The judge suggested veils would make it hard to identify intruders in schools, making murderous attacks more likely.

In the 1996 Dunblane massacre, Thomas Hamilton, 43, burst into a Scottish primary school and shot dead 16 children and their teacher.

The current case began when a Buckinghamshire headmistress spotted the 12-year-old girl in the lunch queue wearing the ‘niqab’ veil – which leaves only the eyes visible – and sent her home when she refused to remove it.

The pupil was told ‘school security’ was one reason for the ban. The girl, who can be named only as Pupil X, has been educated at home since, and is now claiming the veil ban infringes her human rights.

At the High Court Judge Silber said: ‘Everybody knows these days how conscious head teachers have to be about security at schools. Was it in Dunblane where somebody went in and attacked schoolchildren? Therefore it is vital at all schools for the head teacher to be able to glance around and recognise exactly who is there.’

The case has caused controversy because while the girl is on legal aid, Buckinghamshire County Council has refused to fund the school’s fight. A liberal Islamic group has offered to help meet the school’s bill. The case continues.