Controversial case judgment explains child’s rights were not breached – The written judgment is in for a case involving a seven-year-old girl and her constitutional right to wear locks to school; The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the child’s constitutional rights were not breached as she was allowed to attend school despite her hairstyle which violates school policy.
The written judgment from the Supreme Court in the controversial business of a seven-year-old child with locks and her right to attend school, categorically states that Friday’s ruling had nothing to do with Rastafarianism and religious freedom of expression.
The court says children have long been allowed to wear locks to school as a religious expression of their and their parent’s faith. The Virgo family attorney argued that the parents were not obliged to disclose their religious preference to the school and that acceptance of the child’s variance from the policy espoused by the school was a matter of self-expression based on a decision taken in their home.
The court adds that the potential outcome of the wide unfettered acceptance of this concept could translate to a child attending school in any way they wished, based on their, or the family’s perception of freedom of expression.
It further states that the restriction and the rules as to the adornment of the hair are to meet the objectives of the policy of the school.
Back in 2018, the child’s mother received a handbook that had a policy of ‘no braids, no beads and no locking of hair’.
She was then told that she had to remove the locks, or cut the child’s hair, failing which, there was a possibility that the offer of a place at the school could be withdrawn.
Furthermore, it was pointed out that the child was not denied access to education as she quote ‘has been a student at the school since July 2018. Her education was not actually disrupted and she was never actually prevented from attending school, due to her locked hair, despite the suggestion of the possibility made by one of the school functionaries,’
In conclusion, the court ruled that the family had no right or capacity to bring legal action against the school. This controversial issue gained widespread attention both locally and internationally. The ruling came on the eve of Emancipation Day, which had some questioning the extent of freedom in modern Jamaica.
But what happens now for the child or the rights of the child?
More details here in this report