But Mr Justice Collins
Boy’s family wins case in excessive court in opposition to 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 has dominated.
The check case decision is a victory for the family of African-Caribbean teenager “G”, who wears his hair in cornrow braids as a part of a household tradition.
G, who can’t be named, and his mother challenged a refusal by St Gregory’s Catholic Science School in Kenton, Harrow, north London, to let G by the varsity gates together with his braids in September 2009, when he was 11.
Mr Justice Collins, sitting in side part weave with leave out London, dominated that the hair coverage was not unlawful in itself, “but whether it is utilized without any chance of exception, equivalent to G, then it’s unlawful”.
He stated in future the varsity authorities should consider permitting different boys to wear cornrows whether it is “a genuine family tradition based mostly on cultural and social reasons”.
Despite the fact that the family’s utility for judicial assessment was successful, G, now 13, does not wish to return to the school, which he left in tears on his first day.
“This is an important decision,” said G’s solicitor, Angela Jackman, after the listening to. “It makes clear that non-religious cultural and family practices related to a specific race fall throughout the safety of equalities laws.”
The judge emphasised that the school’s “short back and sides” hair coverage was perfectly permissible and lawful, however exceptions had to be made on ethnic and cultural grounds.
He careworn that the varsity was “not in any method racist” however had made “an honest mistake” in failing to allow for exceptions, including: “The college has had glowing Ofsted reports and there is no question that it is a superb college.”
The decide mentioned headteacher Andrew Prindiville had justified the policy as necessary to stop the gang tradition prevalent in the area, wherein haircuts have been used as badges of membership, coming into the varsity.
Cornrows were not necessarily gang-linked but different kinds, just like the skinhead haircut, would possibly well have that connection, the decide said.
The fear was that permitting exceptions to the “short back and sides” rule would undermine the anti-gang coverage.
However the choose pointed out that exceptions have been already made for Rastafarians and Sikh boys who wore hair past the collar, and related exceptions should be made for African Caribbeans.
The choose said G’s family was not alone in regarding cornrows as a part of their tradition: “There are, on the proof, other African Caribbeans who take the identical view.”
The choose refused the top trainer and governors permission to appeal to the court docket of appeal, however they can still go to the appeal judge directly to ask them to think about the case.
The choose careworn that he was not ruling on whether or not the exclusion of G in 2009 was unlawful. It had been advised that G’s household would possibly carry a county court damages motion over the case.
That can be the time to determine whether or not the college had dealt with G’s need to put on cornrows in an unlawful method, stated the decide.
Jackman stated the decide had discovered the school’s coverage unlawful because it utilized to African Caribbean boys with G’s beliefs as a result of it not directly discriminated on race grounds.
She added: “For G, wearing his hair in cornrows is a elementary cultural follow which might have had no hostile impact upon the school. His needs, however, have been dismissed by the college with none consideration. While faculties face the challenges of maintaining good discipline, a neighborhood environment and their particular ethos, this case is a reminder that they must accomplish that throughout the boundaries of the legislation.”
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But Mr Justice Collins, sitting in London, ruled that the hair policy was not unlawful in itself, “but if it is applied without any possibility of exception, akin to G, then it is unlawful”.
So it seems a college can nonetheless put a ban on cornrow braids when a college regards it as a ‘gang-related’ hairstyle. Until someone can show the cornrows are a part of his or her cultural tradition.