Mother drags school to court over son’s dreadlocks

According to the School Principal only girls are allowed to have dreadlocks but boys do not have the same freedom.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 11 – A parent has sued the prestigious Rusinga School in Nairobi after it allegedly declined to allow her nine-old-year child into the school because he spotted dreadlocks on his head.

The aggrieved parent has sued the Rusinga School Limited on grounds that the requirements under the parents’ orientation guide book provided by the school to the parents and students make no provision that bars dreadlocks in the school.

She said that regulations given to the students provide that “hair should be kept neat and tidy all the time. It should be of a natural colour. Girls may use hair braids or hair beads in white, black or navy blue or hair braids of a natural colour. Hair styles should be selected with good judgment so as to avoid drawing attention to oneself.’’

Under a Certificate of Urgency lodged in the High Court on Thursday, the mother is claiming that her son enrolled at Rusinga School Kindergarten class in September 2010 with dreadlocked hair and was permitted to attend all classes for four years.

However, upon joining the respondents’ preparatory school this September, the teacher refused to admit the child into the classroom because he had dreadlocked hair despite the fact that the mother sent the child’s teacher a message informing her that she would go to the school later to discuss her child’s hair.

According to the School Principal only girls are allowed to have dreadlocks but boys do not have the same freedom.

In her suit papers, the mother claims the student’s father is of Jamaican decent and his hair is part of the culture that her son has sought to participate in.

Consequently, she wants the High Court to declare that the school’s rule barring boys from having dreadlocks is illegal and discriminatory against her son since its basis is gender.

Pending hearing and determination of the case, the mother wants Rusinga School Limited compelled to allow her son attend classes on grounds that she has paid most of the requisite school fees and met all the requirements under the parents’ orientation guide book.

“The school is trying to suspend my son for a rule that is not outlined in any of the school’s guidelines provided to the parents or communicated to them,” she states.

Under Article 43 and 27(4) and (5) of the Constitution the petitioner argues that the provision gives her son the right to education and no person should discriminate directly or indirectly against another person on any grounds of their sex etc.

Justice Isaac Lenaola certified it urgent and directed the parent to serve her suit papers upon the school and return to court next Monday for inter-partes hearing.

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