ST. LUCIA: Father suing St Mary’s College for denying son entry due to hair

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

LOOP: The father of a 13-year-old student of St Mary’s College has sought legal action against the learning institution after his son was denied entry into his classroom on September 5, the first day of the new academic year.

“He was denied entry into the class. I went back and forth with the principal for a while yesterday. He was eventually allowed into his class, but the principal told me that my son would not be allowed to attend class today (September 6) if he did not cut his hair.”

Elliot has taken legal action in light of his son being denied access to education.

“As far as I am concerned, a 13-year-old is being denied an education which he has a right to, and the school needs to realise that they are subjected to the Ministry of Education; they are not private institutions and also subject to the authority of the courts, so at the end of the day I don’t think the principal or myself can decide on something that is a public affair, so the courts have a right to decide on it,” Elliot said.

Loop News reached out to SMC’s Principal, Don Howel, who declined to comment.

Government Senator Lisa Jawahir took to social media Monday, expressing her concerns against the actions taken against students.

“I DO NOT support the notion that a boy’s hair must be cut to be allowed to learn in a classroom setting. Likewise, I DO NOT support the notion that a girl cannot have “edges” or hair in a puff or even braids to be allowed to learn in a classroom setting. If you know me, you will notice my hair is almost always in a bun. Why? Because it is a lot to manage every morning because I have work commitments, can you imagine a working, single-parent mother having to comb her daughter every morning for school?

What is wrong with having neat braids in the child’s hair? What worked in “19 0 Not”, where mothers could afford to stay home to comb their kids, does not work in 2022. I believe the schools need to review this and be more accommodating that as long as the child’s hair is neat, their hairstyle should not stifle their ability to learn. Do you remember how difficult it was for the Rastafarian community when their kids could not even have their hair in a bun?

In this day and age, things like this need to be reviewed.(My personal opinion) #letthekidslearn”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education says it is aware of situations at various schools that have sparked public discussion regarding issues of grooming in schools on the island.

The Ministry wishes to assure the general public that it remains committed to reviewing the present positions to address the current issues from a holistic standpoint.

As such, the Ministry is committed to ensuring that an evaluation of this nature includes the thorough participation of all relevant stakeholders in determining the best way forward.