A school that said a student couldn’t attend classes if she didn’t cut her dreadlocks did not infringe on the child’s constitutional rights, the Supreme Court of Jamaica ruled Friday, reports CNN.
The issue began in July 2018 when Kensington Primary School asked the mother of a 5-year-old — identified as ZV since she’s a minor — to cut the child’s hair or her acceptance into the school would be withdrawn.
The mother refused to cut the hair. An injunction was issued that allowed the girl to attend school with dreadlocks until the ruling came out.
The school had an unwritten policy of “no braids, no beads, no locking of hair” because parents do not wash their children’s dreadlocked hair which leads to lice and “encourages insanitary conditions, such as mold,” according to the court judgment.
“The objective of creating a more controlled hygienic environment is important to the proper order and effective learning at the school” the ruling said.
The panel of judges further said this does not affect the child’s right to education as she could always attend another school that supports her form of expression.
“There is no question as to the admittance of the child,” said the Rev. Alvin Bailey, chairman of the board of Kensington Primary School, located just outside Kingston. “From the outset, no decision was taken to bar the child from the school.”
“We just woke up to this news,” the child’s mother Sherine Virgo said. She said it was “good to know she has a place there,” but she and her husband weren’t sure they would send their daughter back there anyway.