Establish fair and non-discriminatory grooming policy
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The Advocates Network requests that the Ministry of Education and Youth (MOEY) establishes fair and best practice dress and grooming policy guidelines that do not discriminate or are unduly biased against African hairstyles of any kind. Selected children being denied their basic right to an education is unacceptable and discriminatory.
We are requesting that the MOEY consults with a diverse body of students and parents, then move to take the following actions:
1. Enact policy that is driven by the human-rights principles of universality and indivisibility (that is, everyone is born with and possesses the same rights, and all human rights have equal status and none can be fully enjoyed without the other).
2. Eradicate colonial notions of grooming and deportment that was designed to police African people’s bodies and culture and imitate European standards of beauty and acceptability.
3. Ensure that hair discrimination be stopped in all schools.
4. Ensure that all school administrators comply with best practices in protecting the dignity of all students, regardless of ethnicity and cultural traditions.
5. Affirm our children as critical thinkers, such that dialogue can be had regarding the ‘rules are rules’ approach, recognising that in a civilised and thinking society, it is necessary for citizens to question the history and relevance of certain rules from time to time.
6. Establish that educating our children is the first and primary priority.
We are very concerned about the message being sent to our children, that their education is secondary to the style of their hair, the length of their dress or the width of their pants. Without an educated population that engages in critical thinking and interrogates the fairness and relevance of rules, we will not achieve the status of development that we seek.
THE ADVOCATES NETWORK