Katherine Phillips leaves Kuwait 4

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 Since an earlier lifting had been rescinded, she chose to leave Kuwait immediately.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.

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4 thoughts on “Katherine Phillips leaves Kuwait

  1. Reply Reem Jul 18,2007 5:25 am

    I am a student Studying in The English Academy, and i belive that there are good and bad people everywhere
    around the world. so there are bad people in America just like there are bad people in Kuwait. i can say
    with no difficulties that the man who sewed Katherine Philips was really over-reacting and that Katherine
    Philips did not do anything wrong and she was simply following school rules! but she should not go around
    telling everyone not to work in Kuwait now thats just silly (no offence)
    so if you are currently working in kuwait and like it then there is no reason to leave!

  2. Reply Shai Jul 18,2007 5:52 am

    Hi, I’m a student from kuwait. & i totally agree with Reem. There are good & bad
    people. And Just because one bad angry parent did that doesn’t mean all of the people in kuwait are like him, because we’re not, we actually may be the nicest people in this world, i guess it’s just hard for others to accept that. I’m not saying anything bad to Katherine Philips it’s just really silly that she go around saying kuwait is not a safe place to work and live at, because it’s actually a pretty nice place. That’s all i have to say…

  3. Reply notunnelvision Dec 12,2008 12:42 am

    I agree that obviosly good and bad people everywhere. I doubt she contests that fact. She is a smart lady who wouldn’t have been there teaching if she was shallow. More than likely the angle from which she made those statements was from what happened to her by the establishment after that clown parent made those allegations. The system is still siding with the parents ignorance instead of acknowledging the need for discipline and commending Katherine Philips for having the forsight to take the necessary actions to attempt to instill within those children some of the needed principles in life. I hope Katherine Philips is back to being an educater because people like her who are willing to be unpopular as parents and as educators is the only hope for the youth to combat the ongoing pilerferation of negativity that exists in all aspects of life from entertainment to sports to government and even in many homes that is supposed to be a safe haven for the children they are destroying. Just my 2 cents but I could be wrong I am just a truck driver who prays for our childrens future and better PARENTS.

  4. Reply Fatemh Apr 25,2010 10:58 am

    I agree with what Shai and Reem said. There are good and bad people all over the world, yes. It’s true. However, the system in Kuwait, the system of wasta, makes it difficult for the good people shine through in a situation like this. I say difficult, not impossible. I hope every Kuwaiti parent, student, and grandparent of a student was calling for this woman’s release. Standing up for what is right and forbidding evil is part of the Islamic religion. The school’s policy for fighting, giving the in-school suspension, was not un-islamic, but what the parent of the boy did, the parent with wasta who was allowed to put Ms. Phillips through so much distress, was very un-islamic. Calling for all teachers to reconsider working in Kuwait would not be necessary if all good people of Kuwait would have stood up against this injustice and other injustices of this sort. Because that didn’t happen, other efforts had to be made to call for this woman’s release. Boycotting Kuwaiti international schools on websites like ISR and informing the world village via internet was just one way of drawing attention to the problem and trying to make a difference, trying to initiate this woman’s release. Wasta is ugly unless it is used for good, just like all power…power usually corrupts. I am an American teacher and I worked in an international school in Kuwait. I want to say to Reem and Shai, yes, your country has many good citizens and good people. I admired many of my students. Just like any other country, there are things that go on which need the general outcry of the people to make something happen.

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