Fri | Jan 28, 2022

End the fuss about school hair policy

Published:Sunday | June 18, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The alleged assault of a male student at Vauxhall High School by three teachers for the crime of not complying with school policy regarding his hairstyle raises political and constitutional issues beyond the assault itself.

And the response of the minister of education is indicative of Jamaica's laissez-faire political culture of not holding leaders of state and government accountable for the violence of those whom they command.

School rules that dictate hairstyles are in themselves a violation of freedom of speech or freedom of expression, and the implied sanctity of one's control over one's body. Schools can make recommendations about hairstyles, but that is all that it can be recommendations. There is nothing in the Education Act that suggests that schools have the right to dictate or punish anyone for choosing how to wear his or her hair.

The Education Act gives the minister of education tremendous powers over the public education system. In light of his powers and duty to uphold the Constitution, there should have been far more outrage from the minister once this matter came to his attention. It is time to end this stupid school policy about hair. Let the students express themselves through their hairstyles. It has nothing to do with their ability to learn.