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Schools may no longer ban pupils from having dreadlocks, after Rastafarian boy has ban overturned

Posted on: 2018-09-12 16:00:00

On his first day of school last September, 12-year-old Chikayzea Flanders was put into isolation
On his first day of school last September, 12-year-old Chikayzea Flanders was put into isolation

Schools may no longer ban pupils from having dreadlocks, after a Rastafarian boy had his hair ban overturned.

On his first day of school last September, 12-year-old Chikayzea Flanders was put into isolation and told that his dreadlocked hair did not comply with the school’s uniform policy. He was told that he can only return to lessons if he cuts off his hair.

His lawyers, funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), argued that his dreadlocks were a fundamental tenet of his Rastafarian beliefs and therefore should be exempt from the policy.

Fulham Boys School, a Church of England free school in West London, has now backed down following legal action by the Flanders family.

The school was ordered by the County Court to pay Chikayzea and his mother Tuesday Flanders a settlement and cover their litigation costs.

"At the heart of this issue is a young boy who is entitled to express his religious beliefs and access an education"
-David Isaac, EHRC Chair

The EHRC said that Chikayzea, who now attends a nearby school, is welcome to return to Fulham Boys School, should he wish to, provided that his dreadlocks are tied up so that they do not touch the top of his collar, or covered with a cloth of colour to be agreed by the school.

While the case will not formally set a legal precedent, the EHRC believe it may discourage other schools from employing similar discriminatory uniform policies.

David Isaac, chair at the EHRC, said: "We funded this case because no child should be prevented from attending their chosen school because of inflexible uniform policies that discriminate against children on the basis of their race or religious beliefs."

He added: “At the heart of this issue is a young boy who is entitled to express his religious beliefs and access an education.

“We are pleased that the school has acknowledged their failings in this instance and has agreed to revise its policies.

Fulham Boys School has been told by its governors' complaints resolution committee to review its uniform policy to ensure it complies with legislation, and also to provide staff with equality and diversity training. It said it will also review its complaints policy.

Alun Ebenezer, headmaster Fulham Boys School, said: "We received a complaint last year concerning a boy who is no longer on roll at our school. The complaint has be dealt with. We continue to rigorously enforce our uniform policy which is on our website".

By Camilla Turner, Education Editor









Source: The Telegraph

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