Monday, September 24, 2007

Dress code/Religious symbols

In French right now we’re discussing Islamic veils and their role in school. There was an issue in France where two girls wore their veils to school and were consequently expelled as church and state are supposed to be separated and the schools are part of the state. However, there was disagreement about whether this violated personal liberty. So long as the religious symbol is “discreet” it can be worn, such as crosses or such, but it’s up to the principal to determine whether the symbol is discreet.

In class the issue of which veil came up. Some people argued that a burkha or nikab would be a safety concern since you wouldn’t know who was actually wearing it. However, there was a general consensus that just the head covering was alright; many people compared it to a hat.

Other issues were:

Gang symbolism is not allowed so why would religious symbols be?

Hate crimes

Using religion as an excuse for wearing whatever you wanted and not abiding by the dress code

In the U.S. we have a protected right that allows us to express ourselves, and yet some schools, public schools, have uniforms. What if one wishes to express themselves through their clothing? I understand that the uniforms are in order to establish equality among students, yet how does this not infringe upon personal freedom of expression?

Perception seems to be the primary way of knowing as it is purely a visual experience. For example, my cousin in Louisiana goes to a school were uniforms are mandatory. She put blue streaks in her hair over the summer, and when she came back to school she was suspended for two days until she got rid of them. It was purely a visual thing. Logic would dictate that you abide by the laws, and our bill of rights is fairly clear.

I don’t understand how demonstrating your faith to someone else is forcing that faith upon them.

1 comment:

katrina337 said...

I disagree with dress codes entirely, because I do believe it takes away freedom of expression. Just because you hold a belief and show it does not mean you're forcing others to believe it. This is entirely based off of my not-so-concrete logic and self-awareness and aquaintance and such, but anyway.
I think a lot of this is largely based off of paranoia and tolerance. If you think about the example of the veils, a burkha or a nikab would be a safety concern because you can't tell who's under it. But in some religious views, isn't that half the point? Isn't it just our paranoia that makes us think that not being able to see the person is a safety matter? I believe sight is a crutch that we rely heavily on as a society, because if we can't see things in front of our eyes we tend not to believe them, while there are entire different ways of 'seeing' things. And with gang symbolism, we also view that as a safety matter. Because we're afraid...of what, precisely? That different gangs will attack each other? That some students will find it offensive? I'm not entirely sure why gang symbolism was outlawed. It's a culture, different from those of us who aren't in a gang, but it's not necessarily a bad one.
With my tolerance point: religion is a big part of tolerance and intolerance. People have told me to burn in hell for my religious beliefs, and I choose not to react, because it's their right to speak their views. I can tolerate that they think differently from me, even though they can't tolerate the same. My point is, if everyone had a higher tolerance level to what other people thought, said, wore, or whatever, then we wouldn't need all these silly codes restricting our freedom. I personally don't see the point in wearing a religious symbol, but some people do, and I'm not going to crucify them for it.

I agree with Wolf's definition of equality (I think it's the next topic up), where people are judged based on their achievements. It means we need to have some basic starting point where people can rise out of that, but I don't think forcing everyone to look the same is a good way to start that.

If you look at Ridgeview's dresscode, it's a lot harsher than ours. What purpose does it serve? None, really. The kids hate it because they feel their freedom of expression is being oppressed. Does it benefit the school in anyway? I don't believe so.