Unveiled women in Saudi Arabia banned from entering girls’ schools

Education departments have made it mandatory for the male and female school guards to abide by Islamic rules

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Education departments in a number of regions of Saudi Arabia have banned female employees and visitors, who do not wear the veil, from entering girls’ schools.

According to a circular sent by education departments to school principals, a copy of which the Makkah daily newspaper obtained, the education departments have made it mandatory for the male and female school guards to abide by Islamic rules, regulations and directives and moral principles. They should avoid anything that violates the honor of the profession.

The education departments said no female employee or student should be allowed to leave school before the end of school hours unless they have a written permission from the female school principal. The identity cards of drivers who transport female students in private cars should be checked. Men should not be allowed to enter the schools except in special circumstances after checking by the female in-charge and after taking precautions to prevent mixing between genders.

The education departments stressed that the school administration and security authorities should be alerted when there are suspicions of anyone trying to enter the school or tamper with the building or contents.

The school building should be watched day and night. Nobody should be allowed to enter the school after school hours unless he or she has a written permission from the female school principal.

The departments said among the duties assigned to the school guard is to close the doors and windows, switch off the lights and air-conditioners, close the water taps after the female students, teachers and employees have left the school premises.

He should cooperate with the maintenance and cleaning teams when they arrive after school hours. He should open the school gate for them and remain with them until they complete their work.

As to the tasks of the female gatekeeper in the school, her presence is important at the school gate so as to follow the movement of female visitors and identify them inside the school premises. They should not allow any female student to leave the school during school hours except with a written permission from the school administration.

The circular demanded that the female gatekeepers should help female teachers on duty to watch girl students before and after office hours. They should carry out any other tasks assigned to them by the school principal or her deputy. They should also help in distributing papers within the school or in the handling of any other transactions.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on Feb. 24, 2014.

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