Schools, parents clash over hairstyles

05 September 2019 | Education

JEMIMA BEUKES



A Windhoek school parent has called on the education ministry to look into school rules which prohibit children to go to school with Afros.

Her child had been sent home when she arrived at the Suiderhof Primary School with “short, natural hair with a black hairband”.

In a text message sent by a certain Ms Stevens, the school informed Elizabeth Ndura that her child’s hairstyle was unacceptable.

“Your daughter at Suiderhof PS has the wrong hairstyle according to page 33 in our school diary. Please see to it that the school rules are applied. This is a no-reply SMS. Ms Stevens.”

Approached for comment, Suiderhof Primary School principal Adriaan van Wyk says every school has rules.

“It is expected that you obey the rules. Let us not go into a discussion about right or wrong,” he said.

At the same time a parent of Jan Mohr High School posted on Facebook that her child had been sent home and denied access to English oral exam because she was wearing Rasta braids.

According to her post the school rules prohibit Rasta hair.

However, according to a staff member of the school the child was sent home because her braids were different colours, which is against the rules.

“The Rasta braids would have been fine had they not been different colours. Even the boys are sent home for long hair. We have just sent home a boy who shaved a small path into his hair. But once he fixed that he will be allowed back in,” she said.

Khomas Region education director Gerard Vries says no school would send a child home just for an unacceptable hairstyle and that such action would probably be motivated by an existing disciplinary record.

He added that parents sign school rules at the beginning of the year and later they claim ignorance.

“Read the school rules and take it from there. A child will not be sent away just like that. The school probably already has a record of that particular child. The parents’ stories sound very one-sided while the schools have very set rules,” said Vries.

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