Who Was That Young Man?

So that’s how it went.

On 3 September 2002, the first day of the autumn term, the respondent (then aged nearly 14) went to the school with her brother and another young man. They asked to speak to the head teacher, who was not available, and they spoke to the assistant head teacher, Mr Moore. They insisted that the respondent be allowed to attend the school wearing the long garment she had on that day, which was a long coat-like garment known as a jilbab. They talked of human rights and legal proceedings. Mr Moore felt that their approach was unreasonable and he felt threatened…The young men said they were not prepared to compromise over this issue.

Who was the other young man, and how was he explained to the assistant head teacher, one wonders. How was his presence explained? How was his interest in the matter explained? How was it made clear why it was any of his business what an unrelated thirteen-year-old schoolgirl wore to school? ‘This is a friend of mine’? ‘This is our imam’? ‘This is Knuckles’? ‘This is our “spiritual advisor”‘?

The school was anxious to establish contact with the respondent’s guardian and accordingly, on 4 September 2002, a member of the support team telephoned her house and spoke to a male member of the family who said that the respondent had seen her solicitor and was going to sue the school. On 5 September 2002 Mr Moore telephoned and spoke to the respondent’s brother. Mr Moore inquired why the respondent was not in school. The respondent’s brother told Mr Moore that he (the brother) was not prepared to let the respondent attend school unless she was allowed to wear a long skirt.

He didn’t say whether the other young man was prepared or not. The other young man seems to have disappeared from the story. I wonder what he thinks about it all.

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