Although her situation in Kuwait is still far from resolved, Katherine Phillips has at least been allowed to leave the country to stay with her parents. Late last month, Phillips, a US educator working in Kuwait, had been banned from leaving the emirate while an angry parent conducted a vendetta against her.
In a letter to the International Schools Review, which had publicized her plight, Phillips said she had received a text message on her phone that the travel ban had been lifted. Since an earlier lifting had been rescinded, she chose to leave Kuwait immediately. (The complete letter is at the ISR site.)
Meanwhile, she has been officially banned from traveling to any of the Gulf Coast countries, which are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Ministry of Education in Kuwait has also instituted a ban against non-Kuwaitis serving in administrative positions in Kuwaiti schools.
You would think with such a frantic governmental response, Phillips had been charged with child molestation or murder. In fact, according to her and another person close to the situation, she was just following the school’s disciplinary handbook, which all parents presumably signed off on.
In fact, Phillips had sent three fifth-grade boys to in-school suspension last year for fighting in Al Bayan Bilingual School , where she was a deputy principal. Within short order, one of the parents, an influential Kuwaiti, called her on the phone to blast her with insults and threats. She was then charged with “unlawful imprisonment” and prevented from leaving the country.
Fearing for her safety, she wrote an email to ISR, which published it on its website. ISR says in a more recent message to its subscribers that someone had launched a denial-of-service attack on the website in an effort to shut it down. Whether the DOS attack and the ISR’s defense of Phillips are connected is unknown.
Many educators and bloggers picked up the story, and the resulting publicity apparently led to the lifting of the travel ban against her, enabling her to find safer quarters.