However Mr Justice Collins
Boy’s household wins case in high court docket towards Harrow faculty 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 is not justified”, the high court docket has ruled.
The take a look at case decision is a victory for the family 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 Faculty in Kenton, Harrow, north London, to let G by means of the college gates with his braids in September 2009, when he was 11.
Mr Justice Collins, sitting in London, ruled that the hair coverage was not unlawful in itself, “but whether it is applied with none risk of exception, such as G, then it is unlawful”.
He mentioned in future the college authorities must consider allowing other boys to put on cornrows whether it is “a genuine family tradition based mostly on cultural and social reasons”.
Regardless that the family’s utility for judicial assessment was profitable, G, now 13, does not wish to return to the school, which he left in tears on his first day.
“This is a vital determination,” said G’s solicitor, Angela Jackman, after the listening to. “It makes clear kurly hair that non-religious cultural and household practices related to a specific race fall inside the safety of equalities laws.”
The choose emphasised that the school’s “short again and sides” hair policy was completely permissible and lawful, but exceptions needed to be made on ethnic and cultural grounds.
He harassed that the varsity was “not in any manner racist” but had made “an sincere mistake” in failing to permit for exceptions, including: “The faculty has had glowing Ofsted reports and there is no query that it is a wonderful faculty.”
The choose stated headteacher Andrew Prindiville had justified the policy as necessary to stop the gang tradition prevalent in the world, in which haircuts were used as badges of membership, coming into the college.
Cornrows weren’t essentially gang-linked but other types, just like the skinhead haircut, might effectively have that connection, the judge mentioned.
The fear was that permitting exceptions to the “short back and sides” rule would undermine the anti-gang coverage.
But the decide identified that exceptions were already made for Rastafarians and Sikh boys who wore hair beyond the collar, and comparable exceptions ought to be made for African Caribbeans.
The choose said G’s household was not alone in regarding cornrows as part of their culture: “There are, on the evidence, different African Caribbeans who take the same view.”
The choose refused the top instructor and governors permission to appeal to the courtroom of attraction, but they will still go to the enchantment judge on to ask them to contemplate the case.
The judge harassed that he was not ruling on whether or not the exclusion of G in 2009 was unlawful. It had been steered that G’s family might bring a county courtroom damages motion over the case.
That can be the time to decide whether or not or not the college had dealt with G’s need to wear cornrows in an unlawful method, stated the choose.
Jackman stated the judge had found the school’s policy unlawful because it utilized to African Caribbean boys with G’s beliefs as a result of it indirectly discriminated on race grounds.
She added: “For G, carrying his hair in cornrows is a basic cultural follow which would have had no antagonistic affect upon the varsity. His needs, nonetheless, were dismissed by the school with none consideration. While faculties face the challenges of maintaining good self-discipline, a community atmosphere and their particular ethos, this case is a reminder that they must do so throughout the boundaries of the legislation.”
However Mr Justice Collins, sitting in London, dominated that the hair policy was not unlawful in itself, “but if it is applied without any risk of exception, similar to G, then it is unlawful”.
So it appears a faculty can nonetheless put a ban on cornrow braids when a faculty regards it as a ‘gang-related’ hairstyle. Unless somebody can show the cornrows are part of his or her cultural tradition.