THE Ministry of Education released a statement yesterday saying it hoped to “amicably” resolve a dispute between a parent of a child at C R Walker Senior High School and administrators over the student’s natural hairstyle.
The statement added that no student was suspended last week from the school “due to any infraction of the Ministry of Education’s school code.”
The statement came after a parent complained on Facebook, and later to a local broadcaster, that her daughter had been reprimanded by an official from C R Walker because of her Afro hairstyle, saying it needed to be groomed. The story was widely shared on Facebook.
“We at the Ministry of Education appreciate the natural and cultural heritage of The Bahamas and of the responsibility of the educational process to reflect and respond to that cultural heritage with tolerance and understanding,” the statement said.
“To this end, young women have always been free to attend school with their hair in its natural state provided it is properly groomed and neat.
“One of the requirements of the Bahamas National High School Diploma is that every student must now complete 20 hours of job readiness training in senior high school. This includes training in grooming, including hair, hygiene, filling out a job application, preparing a resume, proper manners, etc. This has been included as part of the graduation requirement because employers have long bemoaned the fact that graduates are ill-prepared for transition to the workforce and have a lack of understanding in these basic areas.”
“Any decision regarding grooming is done so at the discretion of the school’s administration and we have every confidence in their ability to make decisions in the best interest of the students and the school at large.”
The statement, issued by Director of Education Lionel Sands, said officials are aware of the sensitivity of this matter and are “confident that after review with the school administrator, the school board and the individuals involved, the matter will be amicably resolved.”