Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Classroom crosses ban untrue

I write to correct a comment made by a correspondent, Margaret Mervyn (Write Back, July 15) that I plan to implement a ban on the wearing of religious articles, such as crosses, in schools.

I have no plans to ban the wearing of religious emblems in schools. A school’s dress code or policy is not governed by any specific education legislation but falls to schools to determine. The day-to-day management of schools, including any rules regarding the dress of pupils, is a matter for school principals, subject to any directions that might be given by the board of governors.

When drawing up dress codes schools should act fairly and reasonably having regard to their duties under the relevant equality legislation.

The Department of Education is currently working on guidance for schools on school uniform related policies and I think this may have been misrepresented or misreported in some quarters. As I have said, it is a matter for schools to determine their own policies in this area and to justify them where necessary.

Caitríona Ruane

Minister of Education

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