In a decision that has shocked the world, the high court in Jamaica has ruled that schools are within their rights to ban pupils with dreadlocks from attending.
The ruling comes after two years of court hearings after a five-year-old girl was told that she must cut her dreadlocks in order to study at a school in Kingston.
Jamaicans for Justice campaigned over the case and said that the school’s rules “denied freedom of expression” and “denied access to education”.
The girl’s father, Dale Virgo, said in a statement, “A child was refused because of her Black hair, you know? It’s so weird that right now in the current climate of the world, in 2020, we are having protests, and Black people are fed up. This is an opportunity for the Jamaican government and the legal system had to right these wrongs and lead the world and make a change but they have decided to keep the same system.”
Despite dreadlocks being associated with the Rastafarian culture which has strong roots in Jamaica, those who have dreadlocks are still subject to intense discrimination in Jamaica – workplace bans of the hairstyle still exist and many lose their jobs if they decide to opt for the style later in their careers.
Unfortunately, due to this recent court ruling, this stigma and discrimination looks unlikely to change in the near future.