Grooming policy for students come September
A photo of the hairstyle of the girl who was reportedly refused access to Kensington Primary School in Portmore recently because of her hair.
Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator Ruel Reid, has said a grooming policy for schools is to come into effect when the 2018-2019 school academic year begins in September.
He said the ministry has signed off on the policy that will provide guidelines to assist school administrators and parents in determining the acceptability, appropriateness and suitability of students’ general appearance for school, particularly in relation to how hair is worn.
The grooming policy comes hot on the heels of a major controversy surrounding the refusal of access to Kensington Primary School in Portmore, St Catherine to a prospective student for the upcoming school year, reportedly because of her hair.
That decision has been taken to court by Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) on behalf of the child's parents, and an injunction has been granted, halting the denial of access to the institution, pending the court's ultimate decision on the issue.
“The law allows the school to set rules, and then you are required to abide by them. Part of the guideline is to say to schools, they must review their rules so that they conform to the laws of the constitution, and they must engage their stakeholders so that they can all agree about what rules are reasonable,” said Senator Reid.
He was speaking at a ministry sensitisation session at the Montego Bay High School auditorium in St James on Thursday.
Senator Ruel Reid
He encouraged parents and other stakeholders to view the full policy on the ministry’s website at www.moe.gov.jm.
Additionally, the minister said schools administrators are expected to collaborate with parent-teacher associations (PTA) to ensure consensus among all parties in relation to the grooming policies being embarked on.
The sensitisation session was also used to discuss the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), the provision of metal detectors in school, the expanded pilot rural school bus programme, the proposed nutrition policy, and commencement of the seven-year secondary programme which is slated to begin in the upcoming academic year.
The objectives of the new grooming guidelines for school are to:
• Ensure that all public education institutions have documented student dress codes in keeping with the national policy guidelines;
• Increase levels of participation of stakeholders, especially students, in the development and revision of student dress codes;
• Increase public awareness of the importance of having a documented student dress code, and; • Increase compliance with student dress codes.
The guidelines for females are as follows:
Clean neatly maintained hair. Hair may be worn in pack, braids, twist of locks that are evenly spaced; hair accessories shall be pinned in conspicuous and school colour with no more than two colours worn at any time. Hair should remain in its natural colour; no fashion trends, shave sides, visible lines or patterns; no styles associated with gangs, antisocial cliques or groups; no wigs or hair extensions; no bleached or dye hair; eyebrows shall not be shaved or have any visible lines or patterns.
The guidelines for males are:
Clean neatly maintained hair; shall be kept in a conventional low cut that is evenly graded around the head with the length kept close to the scalp. Alternatively, hair shall be groomed to conform with the conventional standard of an even profile appearing close to the head. As a result, hair shall either be worn in a low evenly graded cut or in a style that is close to the head, away from the face ears and eyes and secured. If long enough at the base of the neck, hair length that cannot conform with such requirements must be covered at all times with approved headwear.
Hair shall remain in its natural texture and colour; no hairstyle affiliated with gangs, antisocial cliques or groups; no chemical processed style, bleached or dye hair; eyebrows shall not be shaved or have any visible lines or patterns; no beards, moustache, or side burn allowed, and students with facial hair should be clean shaved.