- A young Saudi girl was suspended from school for "her fame"
- The social media star was given an ultimatum by her principal: "leave or give up acting"
- The story stirred controversy on social media in Saudi Arabia
- Some saw it as the suppression of her gift, others saw it as the role of the school step in
by Rosie Alfatlawi
In Saudi Arabia you can be suspended from school for being a famous actor.
At least that is according to a story that is circulating on social media in the Gulf nation.
A child, eight-years-old, was suspended from school, and her guardian was compelled not to [allower her to] practice acting on YouTube and Snapchat.
The hashtag “a school suspends a student because she is an actress” has taken off in the ultra-conservative kingdom, which is governed by a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
A video has emerged of the young girl in question, named on social media as “Mayar”, discussing what happened.
“Just now, I went to school [...] Suddenly, the principal called me, and I went to her,” the fifth year primary school pupil describes.
The teacher gave her an ultimatum: "give up acting or leave this school."
“I ask you: is there a law preventing me from practicing my hobby?” Mayar, who is a social media star, asks.
“She said it is because I am famous.”
Given prevailing conservative norms in Saudi society, debate raged on social media over the school’s actions.
Many criticized what they saw as the teacher going beyond the bounds of her authority.
#مدرسه_توقف_طالبه_لانها_ممثله عليكم بالبنت وهي داخل مدرستكم شاطرة مؤدبة مرتبة مطيعة تشارك بالحصة و النشاطات أما برا المدرسة مالكم شغل بها— Asma (@Asmanfe) September 19, 2017
It is up to you to make sure that the girl is clever, polite, smart, dutiful, participates in class and activities. As for outside of school, it’s none of your business.
الوصاية عند البعض مو طبيعي يتدخلون بحرية الأخرين واختياراتهم ع العموم ننتظر موقف وزارة التعليم ومعاقبة المديرة #مدرسه_توقف_طالبه_لانها_ممثله— Noura | نورا (@NourAlharbi) September 19, 2017
The guardianship of some people is unreal - they interfere with others' freedom and choices in general. We wait for the Ministry of Education to give its view and for the punishment of the principal.
Others slammed the failure to support the young girl’s talent.
ايش اللي قاعد يصير حتى الطفلة حاربتوها في موهبتها !!!!!— هيف الهزاني (@AalhazzaniHayo) September 19, 2017
وتقولون منين يطلعون المتطرفين والغلاة !
What is happening? You have even waged war against a young girl for her gift! And you ask where the extremists and the fanatics come from!
#مدرسة_توقف_طالبة_لأنها_ممثلة— أحمد طايف الشمري (@A_6AIF) September 19, 2017
كارثة اذا اصبحت المدرسة هي من تحارب الموهبة والابداع والابتكار و جعلت الطالب مثل الدمية لايفكر و لايبدع
It is a disaster if the school has started to fight against a gift, innovation, creativity, and started to produce students that are like puppets, not thinking or creating.
Others, however, felt that it was the place of the school to step in.
المدرسه صرح تربوي تعليمي عندما اخل الأهل بمفاهيم التربية وجب على المدرسه حماية بقية الأطفال من فعل اهلها بها #مدرسه_توقف_طالبه_لانها_ممثله— ابراهيم بن عطالله (@ibharbi) September 19, 2017
School is an educational institution and when parents fail to raise their children properly, it is up to the school to protect the rest of the children from what the parents have done.
اتعاطف مع المعلمين والمعلمات— محمد عرفج آل سنان (@v2v55) September 19, 2017
إن شدوعلى الطلاب
نحن قوم متناقضين في قراراتنا #مدرسه_توقف_طالبه_لانها_ممثله
I sympathize with the teachers. If they are strict with the students, it is described as hardhanded. And if they are relaxed, it is described as neglect. We are a contradictory people in our decisions.
عن اي موهبه يتحدثوا طفله تردد حوارات الواتس التافهه فى استغلال واضح من الام من اجل الماده من زيادة الاعلانات #مدرسة_توقف_طالبة_لأنها_ممثلة— ساره (@sara_12007) September 19, 2017
What talent are they talking about? A child repeats silly Whatsapp dialogues in what is clearly a case of exploitation from the mother, to make more money from advertising.
Strict religious laws and norms place restrictions on everyday life in Saudi Arabia, particularly for women, who are required to wear hijab and the long, black abaya covering.
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Women must also gain a male guardian’s permission for many activities, and famously cannot drive.
However, a trend of gradual liberalization has seen some of the laws relaxed in recent years, including allowing women to vote, compete in the Olympics and access public services without a guardian’s permission.
These breakthroughs have come partly as a result of social media campaigning by women’s rights activitists.
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