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Saturday, December 10, 2005 

Saudi girls' school is like a prison for them

In the House of Saud, there's a most glaring example present of how women/girls in schools are treated as prisoners, as this news excerpt featured on IMRA that was translated from Arab News shows:
RIYADH, 10 December 2005 -... In Saudi Arabia, being a girls-school gate guard is considered one of the most difficult and worst jobs: It brings a lot of suffering for a little pay.
. . .
... a gate guard at a girls school you must be over 40, married, and accompanied by your wife who must work at the same school. You live with your wife in a cramped efficiency apartment on the grounds of the school. The main job of ,,, is to control exit and entry to the school. Students and teachers cannot leave without the guard's knowledge, and in most cases without his approval. He always holds the keys to the main gate. Not a paper or letter goes inside without his approval. The gate guard reviews permission request to release students or teachers early. Parents and husbands sometimes beg the guard to speed up ...excusing their children or wives. Sometimes these confrontations end with fights and threats. The guards face many difficulties, starting simply with trying to contact school administrators on the other side of the gate. They usually call their wives that work inside to deliver any messages. The wives of the guards are the only connection to everything inside the
school. The wife also plays an important role when a student or teacher is released. It is their job to verify if the man waiting outside is a relative, father or husband.
While the guard's wife is verifying whether the man is related to the student or teacher inside, the gate guard stands waiting. Sometimes the man, waiting outside, berates the guard and accuses him for the delay. The gate guard is also responsible for making a final phone call to verify whether the student or the teacher released is related to the man waiting outside. He often guards the gate like a sentry waiting for someone to storm into the school.
. . .
A female student is not allowed outside of the school until her father or relative is out there to pick her up. ....
... he calls for each female student, often by microphone, when the father or family member arrives. This system often turns to chaos when all of a sudden a dozen or so relatives are shouting at him to call for their daughters and sisters. ... Impatient relatives might snatch the microphone from him to call for their daughters themselves. This can end in fisticuffs between the gate guard and parents, or among parents themselves. The biggest headaches for gate guards are teenage harassers. The guards tend to keep teens as far away as possible, even if that means using force. The most favorable time for teenage boys to visit female students is when they are released from school. This is the worst time for the gate guard. Trying to control and organize what is going around him and to keep away those that want to make trouble is a daunting task. The only help that might come is a local enforcer of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
... The guard has to wait until all teachers leave, too. Some students are left behind because their parents did not pick them up. Gate guards stay sometimes an additional two hours until the school is empty, which means that they work from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day.
And it doesn't end after the last student leaves: The guard and his wife must also search the school for stragglers and ensure that all windows and doors are secure.
.... And he receives a low monthly salary, which ranges from SR1,500 to SR3,500 (Rate:SR 3.75 per US $)...
Pure slavemongering, and with a very low payment to the accomplices in this persecution.

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