Jamaica Supreme Court Upholds School’s Decision To Ban Dreadlocks

August 1, 2020  |  

Classroom chalk board

Source: Douglas Sacha / Getty

The Jamaican Supreme Court ruled that a student must cut her dreadlocks, a popular hairstyle in the country, in order to attend school again. According to The Washington Post, the court upheld the Kensington Primary School in Portmore telling a then five-year-old girl’s family that she had to cut her dreadlocks for hygienic reasons in order to attend their school. The ruling ends a two-year court battle.

The parents of the now seven-year-old child said they will not be adhering to the ruling.

“I will not be cutting my daughter’s hair,” the child’s mother Sherine Virgo told the Post. “If they give me that ultimatum again, I will be moving her.”

Her father, Dale Virgo, added that he felt the ruling was strange considering we are in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“A child was refused because of her Black hair, you know?” he said. “It’s so weird that right now in the current climate of the world, in 2020, we are having protests, and Black people are fed up. This is an opportunity the Jamaican government and the legal system had to right these wrongs and lead the world and make a change. But they have decided to keep the same system.”

The Virgo’s lawyer, Isat Buchanan, said the family plans to appeal the decision. He said the court’s decision marks “a most unfortunate day for Black people and for Rastafarian people in Jamaica.”

Thankfully, from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic she has been homeschooled.

The Post also reported that Kensington Primary School isn’t the only school in Jamaica that has a policy against dreads, which is strange due to many Jamaicans and those that identify as Rastafarians choosing to wear dreadlocks as a form of expression or for religious reasons. Reggae singer Bob Marley, who also wore dreads, is a major icon in the country and even has a statue commemorating him as well as his childhood home, the Bob Marley Museum, being a landmark.

 

 

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