School & District Management

Uncertainty Prompts Kuwait School Hiatus

By Mark Walsh — February 12, 2003 2 min read

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:

Events

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.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Interactive Learning Best Practices: Creative Ways Interactive Displays Engage Students
Students and teachers alike struggle in our newly hybrid world where learning takes place partly on-site and partly online. Focus, engagement, and motivation have become big concerns in this transition. In this webinar, we will
Content provided by Samsung
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.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online

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 'You Can’t Follow CDC Guidelines': What Schools Really Look Like During COVID-19
All year, some teachers have said that enforcing precautions to slow the spread of the virus in classrooms can be nearly impossible.
13 min read
Guntown Middle School eighth graders walk the halls to their next class as others wait in their assigned spots against the wall before moving into their next class during the first day back to school for the Lee County District in Guntown, Miss on Aug. 6, 2020.
Eight graders walk the halls on the first day back to school in Guntown, Miss., on Aug. 6, 2020. Teachers in several states told Education Week that since the beginning of the school year, enforcing precautions such as social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus has been nearly impossible.<br/>
Adam Robison/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP
School & District Management Opinion School Reopening Requires More Than Just Following the Science
Educators can only “follow the science” so far. Professional expertise matters too, writes Susan Moore Johnson.
Susan Moore Johnson
5 min read
Illustration of school and bus
Getty
School & District Management Why Teacher Vaccinations Are So Hard to Track
Teachers can now get the COVID-19 vaccine, but there’s no way of knowing how many are currently inoculated against the virus.
6 min read
Image of a needle and vaccine bottle.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Do Teachers Have to Disclose Their Vaccination Status? Experts Weigh In
Experts answer four pressing questions about teachers, privacy, and COVID-19 vaccines.
3 min read
Vaccine record.
Bill Oxford/iStock/Getty