Antigua government issues statement on hairstyles in schools

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room


The Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda, having met today, all members present—three days following the re-opening of all schools, public and private—expressed its strong condemnation of several schools, both private and public, that discriminate against Rastafarians and those students who wear their natural hair in locks.

The Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda protects freedom of religion, freedom of association, and the freedom to hold a belief system that differs from the majority’s.

The Cabinet noted that objection to natural hairstyles on the heads of students may be couched in language covering school deportment; however, the object, as the Cabinet sees it, is to enable discrimination against children from the Rastafarian community.

That debate about exclusion of Rastafarians from schools ended in Antigua and Barbuda nearly 50 years ago. Schools are not to discriminate against members of the Rastafarian community, or those who choose to wear their hair in the same manner as the Rastafarians practice. That is the policy as articulated by the Government.

If it becomes necessary, the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda will be induced to change policy into law.