Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes

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Students at Finnsnes School in Troms will be allowed to take part in swimming lessons wearing full-body covering swimsuits – also known as burkinis.

The arrangement was the result of dialogue between parents and teachers at the school, who held meetings with representatives from Norway’s Refugee Board (flyktningetjenesten) and interpretors, according to Nordlys.

“If [parents]wish for their daughters to wear burkinis, bought with their own money, then that is okay, but they must having swimming lessons in the same way and together with all the others,” Espen Hay, head teacher of Finnsnes School, told Nordlys.

“We made it clear to parents that religion does not provide exemption for participation in swimming lessons. It is important for us that no students miss out on the opportunities everyone else has,” Hay continued.

The school hopes that the agreement will boost attendance of swimming classes.

“The Education Act [Opplæringsloven] sets out requirements for what must be learnt at school. Subjects or activities can not be rejected by children or parents or even by me as head teacher.

“Just as you can’t not show up to mathematics because you don’t like it, you must take part in swimming lessons,” the Finnsnes School head continued.

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Photo by Giorgio Montersino

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