United Kingdom teacher refuses water to kids claiming its 'unfair' to fasting Muslim classmates

Drinking water from bottle illustration 
By: Ryan Lee Hall

A mother demanded answers after a teacher refused to allow students to drink water in order not to offend fasting Muslim classmates.

An angry mother accused a primary school of denying water to children on the hottest days of the year for fear of upsetting Muslim students, who observe Ramadan.

Kora Blagden, 32, of United Kingdom, said that her son Lucas’ teacher did not allow 10-year-old students to drink water from their water bottle, as it was "unfair" to fellow muslim students.

Some students of the Charles Dickens Primary School, Portsmouth, Hampshire, are following the religious edict of fasting during Ramadan, which forbids them from eating or drinking between sunrise and sunset for about 30 days, depending on the moon.

Blagden said: "Just before bedtime, my children Luke, ten, Alfie, eight, and myself, were talking about Ramadan, as we have seen in the news. Luke told me that his teacher did not allow him to drink water in class. The reason the teacher gave is that it would be unfair to drink in front of the students who are fasting.

Normally the school has bottles of water on the table, they are kept in a tray by the teacher. Lucas was dehydrated when he arrived home. He immediately drank three glasses of water.” Kora went to the school where she spoke to the principal, Lisa Florence, and was given a verbal apology for the incident.

The school said that there is no ban on children of other religions from having food or drink during Ramadan.
Teacher Craig Duncan said: "We make every effort to ensure the welfare of all children and we would never prevent them from having access to water. In this case, water was available and students were just encouraged to be respectful of their colleagues, who could not drink in this hot weather."

Muslim children are not required to fast during Ramadan until they reach the age of maturity (puberty). However, in many families, younger children like to participate and are encouraged to practice fasting. It is common for children to fast for a day as it makes them feel like the grown-ups.