An Auckland private girls' school has "revised" its uniform policy and now allows its students to wear the hijab after a public backlash.
Controversy around the apparent ban of the Islamic headscarf at Diocesan School for Girls came after one of its teachers raised concerns with Turkish media about its uniform rules.
The story by TRT World about the Anglican school in Epsom came less than a week after 50 Muslims were killed in a terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques last week.
However, the school's principal Heather McRae appeared to stand-by the uniform code in a public statement yesterday despite public discourse calling for a change.
But, today, McRae and the board chairman, Andrew Peterson, said the school would be "revising" its uniform policy to allow any student to wear the hijab.
"After undertaking careful and considered discussion and receiving community feedback, we believe a revision of our uniform policy is appropriate," their statement read.
"We are a compassionate school and are always open to discussion with our families and students around our uniform policy. There have been circumstances in the past where the policy has been amended to reflect individual and pastoral considerations. We believe that now is an appropriate time to revise our policy to allow for the wearing of the hijab by our Muslim students who wish to do so."
The statement continued: "Diocesan has a culture of acceptance of all faiths and backgrounds. Our uniform helps create a sense of oneness and family and is worn with pride by our students."
McRae and Peterson said the uniform policy was there to "foster a sense of inclusiveness and to avoid differences in dress" which may invite division and separation.
"To the best of our knowledge, there has never been any formal request from a parent or student to wear the hijab at the school," they continued.
The more than 100-year-old school is also observing two minutes' silence today and is supportive of the nationwide "Scarves in Solidarity" event - which honours the victims of the Christchurch attacks.
At the school's open day last weekend a special prayer was read out of respect for the attacks, while the chapel was also open for people.
"We are incredibly proud of all our students, their maturity and their confidence in who they are," McRae and Peterson said.
"We will continue to uphold our values and encourage the celebration of diversity and inclusion at our school."
A spokesperson for the Human Rights Commission said there is no national policy relating to school uniforms and religious or cultural dress – including headwear.
"Each school sets its own uniform policy," they said.
However, the spokesperson added, schools are subject to the Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on religious grounds.
"If students and their families are concerned that a uniform policy is discriminatory, they can contact the Human Rights Commission."
The Commission provides a confidential dispute resolution service for complaints under the Human Rights Act. More information can be found here.