Culture, religion demand concessions in schools with strict hair policies, says chairperson.
Several Pretoria schools will review their code of conduct when it comes to hair and appearance after black pupils of Pretoria High School for Girls (PHSG) said they were insulted and victimised for wearing their hair natural.
Centurion’s Sutherland High School said their pupils are allowed to wear afros, but only to a maximum hair length of 5cm.
“Only African girls may wear hair extensions. These must be in their natural hair colour and must be tied up when they touch the collar or must be neatly plaited against the head. If extensions cannot be plaited, they must be neatly bound,” said the school governing body’s chairperson, Ashwin Govender.
Wigs were not allowed at the school but a pupil undergoing chemotherapy was granted permission to wear a wig or a head scarf.
“The policy applies to all children. But we, as a school, allow for concessions – if applied for – that embraces religious, cultural and ethnic requirements.”
Themba Mbulumeti, principal at J Mahlangu Secondary School in Mamelodi, said it was difficult to maintain a hair policy as some of the pupils are responding to their ancestral calling which often requires them to tie a goat’s gall bladder to their head.
“These are some of the dynamics. We do have a code of conduct when it comes to hair which is encouraging them to keep it neat and tidy. The pupils should avoid outrageous colours in their hair and should maintain their natural hair colour,” he said.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi suspended the clause in the PHSG code of conduct dealing with hairstyles while the allegations against the school and teachers were being investigated. The code of conduct at Sutherland High School will also be reviewed, Govender said.
“We review and update policies if and when required, and we will do the same if and when direction from the department (of education) is forthcoming.”
Hillview High School said they will be revisiting their code of conduct tonight at their school governing body meeting. Mbulumeti said their code of conduct will also be reviewed for the 2017 academic year.