“Hijab is a Right, Not an Obligation”

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Every time we enter a new school year, there are almost always noises about the existence of “coercion” on students to wear headscarves in public schools. However, the latest and most grabbing public attention is what is happening in the DI Yogyakarta and DKI Jakarta areas.

As reported by various media, a student from the State High School (SMAN) 1 Banguntapan, Bantul, Yogyakarta, felt compelled to wear the hijab. The incident occurred on July 26, 2022. That day, the student was summoned to the Guidance and Counseling (BK) teacher’s room (BK previously was called BP, aka. Guidance and Counseling). There, the BK teacher asked her to wear a headscarf.

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Feeling depressed, the girl locked herself in the school bathroom, sobbed, and contacted her parents via cell phone. To her parents, the student asked to be picked up and did not want to go to school anymore.

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At almost the same time, the same thing happened at the 46 State Junior High School (SMPN), South Jakarta, DKI Jakarta. In this incident, a student claimed to be asked by her teacher about her religion. After the student claimed to be Muslim, the teacher still asked again why she didn’t wear the hijab. The girl then reported this incident to her parents. This incident also received comprehensive coverage in the mass media with the headline “forcing the use of the hijab”.

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In this incident, the Governor of DI Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X has taken firm action. As a result, the head of SMAN 1 Banguntapan and three teachers involved in the case of forcing the headscarf were temporarily non-active. This action was taken because there is a consideration that they have violated the Regulation of the Minister of Education and Culture Number 45 of 2014 concerning Uniforms for Elementary and Secondary Education Students. Meanwhile, for a similar incident in Jakarta, it is considered that there are no cases because what happened is considered “just to remind fellow Muslims”.

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