Finally, a semblance of sanity returns …
A 15-year-old Muslim boy taking classes in Switzerland lost his appeal for what he said was religious freedom – that he couldn’t shake his teacher’s hand because she was a female.
Fox News reports:
“The issue started in April, when Amer Salhani and his older brother refused to shake their teacher’s hand at their school in Therwil, which is outside Zurich. The brothers were reportedly granted a waiver, but education officials decided that a teacher has the right to demand a handshake. …
“[T]he school, at first, appeared to side with the students, but the issue created public outcry and was rescinded. Since the decision, the older brother has left the school and Amer has reportedly still refused to shake hands.
“‘Shaking hands with teachers is deeply rooted in our society and culture,’ Monica Gschwind, the head of the city’s education department, told the [Independent]. ‘For me it is clear: the handshake is enforced, no ifs, no buts.’”
The Independent gave more details:
“At the time of the incident, the region’s education authority said: ‘The public interest with respect to equality between men and women and the integration of foreigners significantly outweighs the freedom of conscience (freedom of religion) of the students.’”
The school, meanwhile, is now considering passage of a policy that makes clear all students are required to shake teachers’ hands when asked, regardless of gender and religious considerations.
As SwissInfo.ch reported:
“In Swiss schools, teachers often greet students with a handshake before and after a class. …
“‘The same rules should apply to all students,’ argued union president Beat Zemp. He added that the wrong signal was being sent to the students involved since they would need to shake hands with many peers and colleagues in their future lives, both male and female.”