But Mr Justice Collins
Boy’s household wins case in excessive courtroom against Harrow college in North London that bans ‘gang-related’ hairstyles.
A school’s anti-gang ban on unconventional hairstyles has resulted in “unlawful, oblique racial discrimination which isn’t justified”, the excessive court docket has dominated.
The check case determination is a victory for the household of African-Caribbean teenager “G”, who wears his hair in cornrow braids as part of a family tradition.
G, who cannot be named, and his mother challenged a refusal by St Gregory’s Catholic Science College in Kenton, Harrow, north London, to let G by means of the varsity gates with his braids in September 2009, when he was 11.
Mr Justice Collins, sitting in London, dominated that the hair policy was not unlawful in itself, “but if it is utilized with none possibility of exception, reminiscent of G, then it’s unlawful”.
He stated in future the varsity authorities must consider allowing other boys to put on cornrows if it is “a real household tradition based on cultural and social reasons”.
Even though the family’s application for judicial review was successful, G, now 13, does not wish to return to the college, which he left in tears on his first day.
“This is a crucial resolution,” stated G’s solicitor, Angela Jackman, after the hearing. “It makes clear that non-religious cultural and family practices related to a particular race fall throughout the protection of equalities legislation.”
The choose emphasised that the school’s “short again and sides” hair policy was completely permissible and lawful, however exceptions had to be made on ethnic and cultural grounds.
He stressed that the varsity was “not in any way racist” however had made “an trustworthy mistake” in failing to allow for exceptions, adding: “The school has had glowing Ofsted studies and there isn’t a query that it is an excellent college.”
The decide mentioned headteacher Andrew Prindiville had justified the coverage as necessary to stop the gang tradition prevalent in the area, through which haircuts have been used as badges of membership, coming into the college.
Cornrows were not essentially gang-linked however different kinds, just like the skinhead haircut, might effectively have that connection, the choose mentioned.
The concern was that permitting exceptions to the “short again and sides” rule would undermine the anti-gang coverage.
However the judge identified that exceptions have been already made for Rastafarians and Sikh boys who wore hair past the collar, and related exceptions must be made for African Caribbeans.
The decide mentioned G’s household was not alone in relating to cornrows as a part of their tradition: “There are, on the proof, other African Caribbeans who take the identical view.”
The choose refused the top trainer and governors permission to attraction to the courtroom of attraction, however they’ll nonetheless go to the enchantment decide on to ask them to think about the case.
The judge stressed that he was not ruling on whether the exclusion of G in 2009 was unlawful. It had been prompt that G’s household would possibly carry a county courtroom damages motion over the case.
That would be the time to decide whether or not or not the varsity had dealt with G’s need to put on cornrows in an unlawful method, stated the decide.
Jackman stated the decide had discovered the school’s coverage unlawful because it applied to African Caribbean boys with G’s beliefs because it indirectly brazilian curly wavy hair discriminated on race grounds.
She added: “For G, sporting his hair in cornrows is a basic cultural observe which might have had no opposed influence upon the college. His needs, however, were dismissed by the varsity with none consideration. While schools face the challenges of sustaining good self-discipline, a neighborhood atmosphere and their explicit ethos, this case is a reminder that they must achieve this inside the boundaries of the regulation.”
However Mr Justice Collins, sitting in London, brazilian curly wavy hair ruled that the hair policy was not unlawful in itself, “but whether it is utilized without any chance of exception, comparable to G, then it’s unlawful”.
So it appears a college can still put a ban on cornrow braids when a school regards it as a ‘gang-related’ hairstyle. Until somebody can prove the cornrows are part of his or her cultural tradition.