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School refuses to enroll student with Arabic name

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15:20 CEST+02:00
A 13-year-old female student has submitted a complaint to the Discrimination Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen, DO), charging that a school refused to enroll her because of her Arabic-sounding name.

On June 10th, the day schools closed, the girl applied to Husbygårdsskolan in Kista northwest of Stockholm for the next semester, she wrote in a notification dated July 2nd.

The following day, her mother, a co-complainant, received a message from a school secretary, saying that there were no more places at the school and that the application was rejected.

The secretary then asked if the school should rip up the application and the student's mother, unaware of the consequences, said yes.

Suspicious, a week later on June 18th, the subject's older sister called the principal, claiming to be a Swedish woman named "Annelie" seeking a spot for her son "Johan," who was the same age as her, or about to enter grade eight.

"The headmaster became totally lyrical and implored that 'Annelie' make contact with the school secretary in charge of the admission process as soon as possible," wrote the complainant. "The principal said that there was room at the school and closed the conversation by saying, 'See you in the fall.'"

The girl's sister called and again pretended to be "Annelie," this time for the secretary at the invitation of the rector.

"[Blacked out] was also very happy about 'Annelies'' and 'Johan's' interest in the school and assured that there were places before the autumn holidays for grade eight because they had reorganised the school to create a large grade eight class from two former grade seven classes," the complainant wrote.

According to the notice, the secretary offered to pick "Annelie" up along the way and guide her around the school so that she could see the school buildings.

Two minutes later, after ending the call, the child's mother called using her own Arabic name and asked if there was space since her request was previously denied.

The secretary allegedly replied "rather angrily" that "there was no place, that it was full, that there was a lack of space." Instead, the mother was offered to return later in the autumn if the situation changed, but everything was full.

"I, my mother and my sister, as well as our whole family was deeply offended by this treatment and want the Discrimination Ombudsman to act speedily to defend our rights and help us obtain redress," the complainant wrote.

The girl attached transcripts of the phone calls made on June 18th to her complaint, adding that the Office for Equal Rights (Byrån för Lika Rättigheter) had the original audio files.

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