School & District Management

Uncertainty Prompts Kuwait School Hiatus

By Mark Walsh — February 12, 2003 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Two schools serving American citizens in Kuwait announced last week that they will close temporarily because of concerns about security and the potential for U.S. military action against Iraq.

The American School of Kuwait, which is affiliated with the U.S. Department of State, and the American International School of Kuwait, both in Kuwait City, were to close from Feb. 10 through March 21.

Kuwait is a key staging ground for the U.S. military, a circumstance generating unease among many of the estimated 8,000 Americans in the country, whose invasion by Iraq led to the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Last month, two U.S. civilian military contractors were shot, one fatally, by an alleged sympathizer of the al-Qaida terrorist network.

“There is some anxiety among Americans here,” Ron Hawley, the personnel administrator of the American International School, said in a telephone interview from Kuwait last week. “We didn’t want people to come to a point that when we try to get them out, there are no planes available.”

His school, with about 1,200 students, serves only a small number of American students from U.S. expatriate families. But some of the many Kuwaiti students enrolled were born in the United States during the wartime period 12 years ago and have dual citizenship, he said.

The American School of Kuwait serves more than 1,200 students and has a higher proportion of students from American diplomatic and business families. In a Feb. 2 letter to parents, Superintendent Andy Page-Smith said the decision to close the school “is directly related to growing security concerns” and “the level of uncertainty regarding military action against Iraq.”

A Matter of Timing

Officials of both schools suggested that they expect the closings to be temporary and noted that the timing in part coincides with Muslim holidays in February and March. Mr. Page-Smith told parents that the school’s calendar would be adjusted to make up lost days beginning March 22.

Mr. Hawley said many in Kuwait expect that a U.S.-led war would begin in the time frame of the school closings because extreme heat would make action more difficult later in the spring.

Other American-curriculum schools in the Middle East do not appear to be closing at this time.

An administrator at the American International School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who asked that his name not be used, said the school would remain open, “barring a dramatic change in circumstance.”

“Obviously, we can’t forget where we live,” he said. “But a lot of international teachers and families are used to living in situations that are, shall we say, politically exciting.”

Keith D. Miller, the director of the State Department’s office of overseas schools, which assists and monitors American-curriculum schools abroad, said security of such schools is a major concern.

“But it’s amazing the resiliency in these schools and communities around the world that just try to carry on,” he said last week.

Related Tags:


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Quiz What Do You Know About the Most Influential People in School Districts? Take Our Quiz
Answer 7 questions about the superintendent profession.
1 min read
Image of icons for gender, pay, demographics.
School & District Management Opinion I Invited My Students to Be the Principal for a Day. Here’s What I Learned
When I felt myself slipping into a springtime slump, this simple activity reminded me of my “why” as an educator.
S. Kambar Khoshaba
4 min read
052024 OPINION Khoshaba PRINCIPAL end the year with positivity
E+/Getty + Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management The Complicated Fight Over Four-Day School Weeks
Missouri lawmakers want to encourage large districts to maintain five-day weeks—even as four-day weeks grow more popular.
7 min read
Calendar 4 day week
School & District Management From Our Research Center Principal Salaries: The Gap Between Expectation and Reality
Exclusive survey data indicate a gap between the expectations and the realities of principal pay.
4 min read
A Black woman is standing on a ladder and looking into the distance with binoculars, in the background is an ascending arrow.