When I was in school, many things were not allowed. But when I heard stories from my teenage cousins I was shocked to know that they are even stricter these days. I don’t know if this applies to all schools in Doha but I am talking about Albayan School, the scientific school from primary to diploma level.
Personally, I never understood why a touch of makeup or accessories was not allowed in school. Girls in this age start to develop their character and naturally girls like to get dressed and have pretty things. Just as it’s natural for boys to play football or do whatever in that age (what are they into at this age anyway?), girls like to put a lip gloss or eyeliner. But schools take that an indication for deviation and start of developing seductive techniques that might open the girl’s eye to the world of SEX! I am not making this up; this is what one of the teachers told me! Anyways, sure, don’t allow makeup, no big deal. But why be mean to the girls.
In Albayan School, any kind of femininity is forbidden. Even small earrings, or letting your hair down is not allowed. Even dying the hair or having a hair cut more than average is not allowed. A Qatari girl who had blond hair was shouted at for colouring her hair, she told the supervisor that it was her natural hair colour. They did not believe her and called her mother who told them that her daughter was not lying. Not only hair, but also colour shoes, socks or a jacket are not allowed. Even if they have one stroke of colour that is not black or blue or white, it would be confiscated.
During winter, my sister was ill and yet she went to school. She was wearing a blue jacket that had a yellow line in on the side. The head mistress asked her to take off her jacket, my sister was shocked. It was cold and on top of that she was ill. The head mistress said that this is none of her business and that my sister broke the laws and so she must remove the jacket or it will be removed by forced and my sister will be suspended for three days. My sister was furious. She said that ‘OK I will take it off, but if I get worse it will be your responsibility’
While girls are in classes, supervisors would open the girls’ lockers and look through their things and confiscate any kind of mirrors, makeup, magazine, colourful hair bands. Not only they would not return these things to the girls, but also they would use the girls’ stuff in front of them
My friend’s sister had a small mirror; once her teacher saw it she took it and broke it immediately. Another friend was wearing a bracelet, her teacher asked her to take it off then she wore it and said ‘it looks nicer on my hands’.
Being overly strict makes girls more creative in finding ways to break these rigid laws or make them hate school even more. I agree that pupils should learn how to respect rules and be disciplines but not in such way. I don’t see any point from suspending girls just for having a lip gloss or wearing a bracelet.
Moreover, girls in property school are forced to wear Sheila and abaya and if they didn’t they would be publically humiliated by being shouted at in front of everyone. Girls who are late for school are given a good shout before they go to classes, if it happens more than once, they get warning and they get suspended.
Put all of this in one side, and the insults students receive in another. Why use such barbaric way, girls will eventually use these words and copy this behaviour between themselves. There is no need for violence in words to keep them under control. I know how naughty girls can be, but this doesn’t work. Because the naughty one will take this as a challenge and conduct a bad behaviour on purpose.
Do you think what is happening in Albayan school is normal? What do you think should, and should not be allowed in schools? And should there be a difference between rules in girls’ schools and boys’ schools?