Saudi Arabia’s education ministry has ordered school officials to deal with students making fun of Islam or discussing subjects that violate Sharia law through “behavioral adjustment and life-skills sessions,” combined with “voluntary” community service, BBC News reported.
Arab News quoted sources as saying students who violate the rule will be suspended for a year only to be allowed back if the local education authority is satisfied with their progress. The decision comes after the ministry expressed concern about the harmful effect of anti-Islamic behavior on students and the community.
Muhammad Al-Dakhini, spokesman for the education ministry, said the codes aim to build a generation committed to Islam and the country, the report said.
Abed Mansour, a teacher at a private school in Jeddah, is happy about the measure.
“It is alarming to see students mocking our religious values,” said Mr. Mansour, who was happy about the measure. “I have had some students who laugh during prayers. This decision will contribute in fostering greater respect within students toward religion, especially they are being deterred by serious punishment.”
Another teacher in Jeddah, Abdullah al-Turki, said many Saudi teens “are carried away by a desire to imitate what they see as Western freedom.”
The codes of behavior are mandatory for all schools and have to be applied by principals, teachers and administrators, the ministry said.