Public Defender Carolyn Reid Cameron is urging school administrators to desist from barring students from schools in response to perceived breaches of school grooming codes, including hairstyles.
Reid Cameron’s call comes amid recent reports of a male student who was denied entry to his St Catherine-based high school due to his hairstyle being deemed inappropriate by school administrators.
In expressing concern about such acts by schools, the public defender suggested that other methods be found to handle such breaches of grooming policies.
“The Office of the Public Defender is urging school principals and administrators to desist from this practice of banishing students from school as the first response to alleged infractions of grooming policies,” said Reid Cameron in an audio statement, a copy of which was obtained by Loop News.
“Surely the collective intellect of academic and administrative staff should capacitate them to conceive of smarter ways of handling such situations,” she added.
Reid Cameron pointed to the initial response of schools being “almost always” resorting to the “turning away of the student”.
Continuing, she said: “This stock response does not comport with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Jamaica is a signatory.”
In August of this year, the Ministry of Education started a series of consultations on student dressing and grooming.
The main objective of those consultations was to develop a policy for educational institutions that balances students’ rights with adherence to school rules.
At the first such consultations that was held at Jamaica College in St Andrew in August, Education Minister, Fayval Williams, said such a policy would take into account cultural identity, climatic conditions, socio-economic circumstances of parents, and the aims of educational institutions.