non-muslim School boy forced to do ramadan fast


AN angry mother has accused a primary school of denying her child water on one of the hottest days of the year to avoid upsetting Muslim pupils observing Ramadan.

Kora Blagden, 32, claimed a teacher at her 10-year-old son Luke’s school refused to let him drink from his water bottle because it was “unfair” to fasting classmates.

Many pupils at Charles Dickens Primary School, in Portsmouth, Hants, are following the religious edict that forbids them from eating or drinking between sunrise and sunset.

Mother-of-four Ms Blagden said: “Just before bedtime my sons and I were talking about Ramadan as we had seen it on the news. Luke said to me he was told he wasn’t allowed to drink in class by his teacher.

“The reason being a child who is fasting had a headache and the teacher said it would be unfair if the other children drank in front of the pupil.

“They normally have their bottles on their table but they were kept in a tray by the teacher. He went along with it but he was thirsty and didn’t want to offend the other children.

“Luke was dehydrated when he got home and drank three glasses of water straight away.”

Luke’s eight-year-old brother Alfie goes to the same school.

The teacher, who has not been named, allegedly made the ruling on Thursday, when temperatures in Britain soared to a high of 82F (28C).

Ms Blagden confronted deputy head Lisa Florence before lessons began yesterday and said she was given a verbal apology for the incident.

She said: “I spoke to the deputy head and told her what Luke had said to me and I asked why this was allowed. She said it wasn’t fair my son was refused a drink in lesson and therefore drank nothing in lesson time all day. She said they will be speaking with Luke and the teacher and stated she was sorry my children felt they could not drink.


“The deputy head said it was not what they had been told to do and it is only what children of Muslim faith do.

“I have no problem with that but I don’t wish my sons to be told they can’t drink water. Personally I think it is very wrong. I have nothing against the religion. I have only my child’s interest at heart.”

Charles Dickens is an inner-city school just streets away from the birthplace of the famous author.

Head teacher Craig Duncan said school staff “do everything that we can to ensure the welfare of all of our children and we would never prevent them from having access to water”.

He said: “In this case, water was available and pupils were just reminded to be respectful to their classmates who were unable to drink in this hot weather.”

Portsmouth City Council, who are responsible for the 300-pupil school, declined to comment.