TSR We Global: For years, locks have been a staple hairstyle to the country of Jamaica and Rastafarian culture, which is why a recent ruling by its high court came as a shock to many. The high court ruled Friday that a local school was “within its rights” to ask a student to cut her locks in order to attend classes.
According to the Washington Post, the Supreme Court of Jamaica ruled in favor of the Kingston Primary School after a two-year battle with the student and her family. At the time, the young girl was just 5 years old, and was told she had to cut her locks for “hygiene reasons”.
The girl and her parents reportedly plan to file an appeal against the Supreme Court, as the family and civil rights group, Jamaicans for Justice, say the order for the student to cut her hair was revoking her freedom of expression and access to her education.
“I will not be cutting my daughter’s hair,” Sherine Virgo said after the ruling. “If they give me that ultimatum again, I will be moving her.”
The family’s lawyer spoke out following school closings due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying the ruling is quite unfortunate for black families in Jamaica.
“I am more than surprised. It is most unfortunate,” he said. “It is a most unfortunate day for Black people and for Rastafarian people in Jamaica.”
The girl’s father also spoke out, calling the ruling another indicator of “systemic racism.”
“This is a opportunity for the Jamaican government and the legal system had to right these wrongs and lead the world and make change,” he said. “But they have decided to keep the same system.”
The Virgo families clarifies that while they are not Rastafarian, they do wear locks as a form of expressions of their identity. All of the members of the family rock the natural hairstyle, and do not plan on cutting their hair any time soon.
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