Monday 24 September, 2018

Court paves way for child with dreadlocks to attend Kensington Primary

A photo of the hairstyle of the girl who was reportedly refused access to Kensington Primary.

A photo of the hairstyle of the girl who was reportedly refused access to Kensington Primary.

The Supreme Court has granted an injunction clearing the way for a 5-year-old girl with dreadlocks to attend Kensington Primary School in Portmore, St Catherine in September. The child was being refused access to the school due to her hairstlye.

And lobby group Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ), which had filed a motion on behalf of the child and her parents on July 18, is elated at the court’s decision that was handed down on Friday.

"This is only the beginning of the process, and while there is much more to be done in court, we are pleased by the first order from the court to allow this child - who has done nothing wrong - to attend classes and obtain the education that she has a constitutionally protected human right to. Without this order, she could have faced the prospect of being denied an education," said JFJ said in statement.

The board of management of Kensington Primary, one of the top performing primary schools in the country, had given the parents of the 5-year-old until August 29 to remove her locks failing which she would not have been allowed to attend the much sought after school in September.

Kensington had argued that the child’s dreadlocked hairstyle was against school policy. Despite several incidents, including children being humiliated by having their heads shaved at school, the Ministry of Education is yet to present its long promised policy on the matter to the country.

In taking up the matter, JFJ had argued that if Kensington had enforced such a rule and barred the child, it would be in breach of her, and her family’s constitutional rights.

Attorneys from the Attorney General's Chambers who represented the Government, consented to the order on Friday in a matter that is not yet over as the court is scheduled to hear the case in January 2019.

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