…parent unable to access school rules
The mother of a Friendship Secondary School East Bank Demerara student is furious that her son was put out of the school and is unable to return to the institution unless she explains why he is going to school with his hair in rows.
The woman, Michelle Johnson, of Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara, said that when she enrolled her son who is now a fourth form student, several years ago, she asked specifically, whether her son is permitted to wear his hair long. The woman claimed that the headteacher at the time told her that there is no rule against long hair, but the child’s hairdo must be kept neat and presentable.
She now says that the current head is demanding that students cut their hair. “This is not what I was told when I enrolled my son,” she claimed. Johnson said that her 14 –year-old son came home on September 17, last, with a letter from the school saying that her presence was required.
The woman said she visited the school and was told by the principal that her son could not wear long hair to school unless religion or a medical condition permits it. The mother said she requested some time from the school to get the information pertaining to her son’s health.
However, the woman said that she fell ill and about two weeks elapsed before she could get the information to the school. A second letter, the woman said, was sent by the school again demanding her presence, this time by October 1. The woman said that she made arrangements to go to the school on the day in question, but when her son turned up for school on September 30, he was put out of the school and is unable to return unless she accompanies him.
After the young man was put out of the school on Tuesday, Johnson said she took her son to the Region Four Educational Office at Triumph, East Coast Demerara, to seek clarity on the school rules. Johnson said the education officer who spoke with her apologized on behalf of the school’s headmaster. She claimed that he had no right to send the child home.
The officer stated however that, “if he (student) got to cut it, then so be it.” The mother said she was unable to get a definite answer as to what the rule is about long hair. The 14-year-old told Kaieteur News that other students are facing the same dilemma with one student allegedly suspended for not cutting his hair.
When this publication called the Education office to gain clarity on the school rules, the newspaper was directed to the Education Ministry’s Permanent Secretary. Other staff members at the Ministry redirected Kaieteur News to the Regional Office saying “they are the ones who deal with that.”
To date, the parent is unable to access basic information on the school rules. Johnson said that her son’s hair is usually well combed and tidy and sees no reason why he should remain home.
She told Kaieteur News yesterday that after visiting the school on Wednesday, her son remains at home and the headteacher maintains, despite no proof of stated school rules that her son will not return to school unless she presents a doctor’s letter for his condition.
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