Rasta pupil returns to school after dreadlocks saga

2013-04-11 14:15

A Western Cape Rastafarian pupil who was ordered to stay away from school until he cut his dreadlocks has been allowed to return, Equal Education (EE) has said.

The non-governmental organisation met the principal of Siphamandla High School in Khayelitsha, the school’s governing body (SGB) and staff today to discuss the pupil’s grievances, said EE chairperson Yoliswa Dwane.

“It was agreed that the learner would be allowed back into school and that a catch-up plan would be provided,” said Dwane.

He would not have to cut his hair.

The Cape Times reported last week that the Grade 10 pupil Sikhokele Diniso was told to leave the school last month.

The education department said, at the time, Diniso could return to school as he had not been suspended.

Department spokesperson Bronagh Casey said that, according to the school principal, the pupil was asked to bring his parents to discuss the matter.

“The boy returned with his brother. The principal insisted on discussing the matter with the parents.

“The parents eventually met the principal and agreed that the son should clean, comb, and tie his hair. The boy did not want to do this,” said Casey.

The EE said today it had dealt with similar cases in the past and had found that the education department failed to properly address the situation.

“While learners are eventually allowed back into school, to date there has been no official apology by the principals or by the Western Cape education department to affected learners for the violations to their dignity,” said Dwane.

She said the department had failed to respond to requests to release a circular to all schools providing clarity on the legal position that schools reasonably accommodate pupils’ religious beliefs.

“This is unacceptable, because affected learners are forced to lose out on crucial learning and teaching time and are also subjected to verbal abuse and prejudice because of their religion,” she said.

However, the education department said it had addressed the matter.

“Schools may ask parents to submit a letter from a religious teacher or organisation to substantiate a request to deviate from the dress code,” said Casey.

“The department has (also) provided training to school governing bodies on their roles and responsibilities following the SGB elections last year.

“These roles and responsibilities include drafting codes of conduct and dress codes, and disciplinary procedures, in line with constitutional values and the law,” said Casey.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.