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Anne Marie Rivier School Principal Declines Meeting with Student Association Amidst Suspension of Muslim Students

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By Buba Gagigo

The National Students Association of Basic and Secondary Schools (NASABSS) has accused Ann Marie Rivier School’s principal of refusing a meeting to discuss the tension arising from the suspension of Muslim students who protested against the alleged denial of prayer space on the school grounds.

“Earlier today, 22th May, 2024. The Executive Committee of NSABSS visited Ann Marie Rivier School with the aim of initiating a constructive dialogue with the school principal and the school management. Our intention was to discuss the concerns surrounding the restriction of religious practices and to seek a peaceful and respectful resolution that upholds the rights and welfare of all students. Regrettably, despite our role as complimentary partners committed to advocating for student welfare, our request for a discussion on this pressing matter was rejected by the school principal. This refusal to engage in dialogue is disheartening and undermines the values of communication and mutual respect that are essential in educational environments,” NSABSS said.

Expressing deep concern over recent events at Ann Marie Rivier School, NASABSS emphasized every student’s right to religious freedom without discrimination. They criticized the suspension of Muslim students, stressing that such actions contradict the inclusive principles educational institutions should uphold. NASABSS called for the immediate revocation of suspensions and condemned alleged assaults by the Vice Principal during student prayers, demanding prompt and transparent resolution of grievances.

“The actions taken by Anne Marie Rivier School, resulting in the suspension of Muslim students, are not only concerning but also contradict the principles of inclusivity and respect for religious diversity that educational institutions should embody. We call upon Anne Marie Rivier School to immediately revoke the suspension of Madi and to unequivocally uphold the rights of all students to practice their religion at all times. We strongly condemn the actions of the Vice Principal, who has been accused of assaulting students while they were engaged in prayer. This behavior is not only deeply troubling but also a blatant violation of the students’ fundamental rights. The school administration must address the grievances of the affected students and their families promptly and transparently,” they continued.

NASABSS further urges the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and other stakeholders to intervene and ensure students’ rights to religious freedom are protected.

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