According to this MTV report, Sabis which is a secular school, dismissed Christian students having a cross of ashes on their forehead on the first day of Lent because the school does not tolerate any display of religious or political symbols. However, and as per the school regulations shown in the report and what the school principal explained to the parents, Hijab which is a “religious obligation” is accepted by the administration.
Here’s an excerpt of the regulations as shown in the MTV report:
The display of any religious or political symbol is strictly forbidden. A religious obligation may be accepted by the administration if it is not in conflict with the curriculum, rules and regulations of the school.
Personally speaking, I believe a secular school shouldn’t allow any religious symbols and shouldn’t make exceptions at all. Whether Hijab is a religious obligation or symbol is open to interpretation and has caused endless debates worldwide specially after France banned it, so it’s a bad idea for a secular school to stick its nose in these matters. Moving on to the MTV report, and since Lebanon is obviously not a secular state, I think they should have dealt with this sensitive issue more carefully without adding more fuel to the fire. Turning the matter into a sectarian one and wearing crosses vs wearing veils matter is silly and won’t do us any good.
More importantly, the way some parents are reacting to this matter will only reflect negatively on their children as they have nothing to do with this matter and are probably clueless about religion as a whole. All in all, I think the administration and the parents should meet and sort this out in the best interest of the children and the school.