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

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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.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. My son went to St Marys and was sent home for the same reason (yes a white boy) so I took him to the barbers and got him a #2, so its not just a rasta thing.
    My son was also thrown of the school cricket bus by the same guy because quote a white boy hasn’t played for St Mary’s for over 17yrs, it was only when the coach got involved that he was allowed to play.

    • @Caribian…the “attitudes” towards hair(from afro to locks to braids) was never a “rasta thing.” The Rasta was simply used as a #SCAPEGOAT, to control and hinder one’s freedom as HUEmans. In particular huemans of darker hues!

      • There were quite a few boys with locks, all they were asked to do was put there locks in (sorry if I get this wrong) in socks/hair nets/bags.
        Then the head allowed them in school with any problem.

  2. Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! “Get used to me, I am not getting used to anyone.” I shouted my laughter to the stars.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks!

    When will The Powers That Be ever Learn! “The unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps.”
    ― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

    Even The US Army has made improvements to its allowances for People of African Descent in its most recent grooming and appearance standards as of January 2021: “This is one of the many facets of putting our people first and recognizing who they are as human beings. Their identity and diverse backgrounds are what makes the Army an ultimate fighting force.” // “Under the PAST standard, Soldiers are allowed to braid, twist, lock, or cornrow their hair if they are uniform and no greater than 1/2 inch in width. Individuals must also have appropriate size and spacing between each braid, cornrow, twist, or lock, and are authorized one distinct type of hairstyle at one time. The NEW and UPDATED standard removes the CONSTRAINTS of dimension requirements.”

    “We must learn to live the African way. It’s the only way to live in freedom and with dignity.” ― Capitaine Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara, The Upright Man, Pan-Africanist Revolutionary and former President of Burkina Faso born 1949 assassinated 1987!

  3. Just rambling..

    The arguments need to be stronger from the senator. Find out what is happening on the ground before making general recommendations.

    I have seen enough on my daily commute to work to know that schools are not so rigid as we are expected to believe. I have heard teachers who see nothing wrong with the braids or edges and are not interested in monitoring students.

    Parents comb girls hair over weekends and some of these hairstyles last for weeks. Salons were offering free back to school hairdos for students and teachers. Even FLOW was giving free haircut s for school.

    As for the grooming issue, where is the line to be drawn and who will do the monitoring?

    Who measures the length of the braids?
    Can girls wear lipstick instead of lip gloss? It’s 2022.
    What colours can boys and girls dye their hair?
    Can girls take hair cuts?
    Who determines which design is appropriate in the hair cuts?
    How tight can skinny pants be?
    How large can girls and boys earrings be?
    Which style is the standard Rockstar or bone straight?
    Now seamstresses are saying pants should not have creases.

    This discussion happens every September. I enjoy it. I suspect those in charge do not know where to start.

  4. The very “backwardness” of the Caribbean that so many contends, is not a mystery, It quite literally came from the backward rules that were put in place and implemented many a many years ago. These same rules have stifled the growth and education of so many, hence the ” backwardness” of so many Caribbean islands. Smh.

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