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Ministry Seeks ‘Amicable’ Resolution In Row Over Student’S Natural Hairstyle

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.”

Comments

proudloudandfnm 5 years, 8 months ago

Do we hire trained teachers for our public schools?

Or are these crony jobs and jobs for votes?

Every teacher should have a college degree in education..

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ohdrap4 5 years, 8 months ago

Please no. Education majors have the lowest GPA in most colleges and universities. That is the real reason many teachers do not have degrees in Education. What is the point in knowing all methodologies techniques if you do not know the content of what to teach.

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mangogirl01 5 years, 8 months ago

I'm so tired of this! Its overkill now! Put it to rest!

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 8 months ago

School is not a place to flaunt your style or create your individual brand .......... it is a place to learn and hone soft life-skills.................. go to college and express yourself ............ how can a parent defend the indefensible???????????

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 8 months ago

BTW ........... the Department of Education has dress codes for teachers and students ......... and both are not seriously enforced in public schools today

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GrassRoot 5 years, 8 months ago

Where is Mr. Fitzgerald, when we need him?

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killemwitdakno 5 years, 8 months ago

Administrators don't need to perniciously imply to students that they need to perm their hair instead. Bahamians have a damn stupid thing always nagging about why someone doesn't perm their hair. It's frequent workplace harassment. Every mother wants their daughter to feel beautiful and it's hard enough without being told even a prefect can't get hired because of her hair.

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Greentea 5 years, 8 months ago

supportthepuff! Natural hair is beautiful and I much prefer to know that you have something going on IN your head than on it. If it is good enough to attend school then its probably just fine in the workplace.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

How did this even become a debate about natural hair??? This child could have had permed hair and gotten the same rebuke. Basically the principal said her hair was "untidy". She did NOT say black hair was untidy. People who wear natural hair know how hard it is to maintain, and they all know about the days you fall back on the, as little effort as possible style, which is not as neat, or the zero effort head wrap. Stop pretending

It's almost as if these people were sitting on the sidelines waiting for someone to shout "black!" so they could pick up picket signs and start making noise

And we wonder why our children think they can speak to adults any kind of how and dare anyone to try to tell them what to do. What a poor lesson this mother gave her daughter.

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My2cents 5 years, 8 months ago

If not about natural hair, I wonder how many girls with shoe polish as makeshift edges has she approached. Or the ones who struggle to pull their hair into one leaving only the hair accessory visible. These are not "neat" hairstyles but I doubt anything is said to them for fear of offending those who are trying to have what is not naturally given.

What a poor lesson this principal is teaching the next generation. It's no wonder Bahamians readily accept 2nd class status..it's what they're taught.

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Zakary 5 years, 8 months ago

Now bear with me, I am completely ignorant of these matters, and I don’t participate on social media. Whenever I read articles in the newspaper and see they get really strange or odd I always notice “Facebook” mentioned somewhere and I think I’m now starting to understand why.

I did some brief research in my spare time and what I found was simply amazing. There is an article on buzzfeed, a very popular gossip site, http://www.buzzfeed.com/krishrach/wom..." title="" target="_blank">about Bahamian women standing up for natural hair. Another website talks of http://www.elife242.com/supportthepuf..." title="" target="_blank">a revolutionary Bahamian movement called “support the puff”. Sharon Turner’s blog even http://www.thereal242.com/?p=3015" title="" target="_blank">came back to life to discuss this controversy. There is even http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/su..." title="" target="_blank">a petition with more than 500 signatures to address what some deem as a fight against natural hair.

The narrative makes it seem like the Ministry of Education is against natural hair, which I think most of us could say is really questionable, but step back and look at all of that, what does that tell you?

The reaction is mind boggling. Why don’t we have that kind of reaction to the state of the economy? Why don’t we have that kind of reaction for issues in our community? Why are people so quiet on issues that really matter?

  • It's almost as if these people were sitting on the sidelines waiting for someone to shout "black!" so they could pick up picket signs and start making noise.

You make a very very excellent point here. It seems this is how things go nowadays, you wait on the sidelines till the perfect opportunity comes along to ride the wave. Only if it was that easy...

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My2cents 5 years, 8 months ago

You and the person you quoted are seeing it from a basic standpoint and completely missing the point. A child was essentially told by an administrator that her hair in its natural state was not a good look, looked untidy and unkept. The child was also supposed to shrink back, accept that her hair is ugly and carry that idea of inferiority into adulthood and silently deal with it.

This is why Bahamians cannot react to the state of the economy in the same manner...they accept whatever, whether they agree or not because it is engrained in them. I for one am happy to see overly passive Bahamians reacting to something. And it's being led by the next generation. Hopefully, they will continue on that path to something more substantial. But like I said before, one has to creep before they walk.

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Zakary 5 years, 8 months ago

Well if a reaction of this magnitude is considered creeping, I look forward to the moment when Bahamians start to walk and then run, it looks promising.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

No responsible parent sits by while their child calls an adult stupid, even if the parent thinks the other adult is indeed stupid. You teach your child to respect authority. The policeman isn't always right, but you don't talk to him any way you feel. It's the same principle. I ain't supporting no puff until that mother makes her daughter publicly apologize to the principal. Lanisha Rolle all over again.

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Godson 5 years, 8 months ago

WHILE YOU ALL DEBATE AND ARGUE OVER THE HAIR STYLE OF A STUDENT, THE CHINESE, AND OTHER FOREIGN INTERESTS, ARE EATING YOUR BREAKFASTS, YOUR LUNCHES, AND, YOUR DINNERS FOR THE FUTURE.

All this is going on while you all are arguing over this; and to further note, the cooks, waiters and waitresses who are serving these foreign interests are the incompetent administration of government which you all have elected to see to it that you and your children's needs are met now and in the future, i.e. Edison Key, a 77 year old member of Parliament who has now decided to rescind from retiring and run again for the House of Assembly in 2017.

The Principal of the school was only seeking to raise and keep up a standard of personal hygiene and self deportment for an already declining culture among this generation. The Principal, I am assured, had no evil intent or malice in mind.

We ought to have given her our support in this regard. Obviously, the matter was still being considered by her - but for the intemperate and hasty manners of the mother, this could have been resolve with added benefit to the child, and to a wider extent, the Country.

Godson 'Nicodemus' Johnson

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 8 months ago

Just another good example of the ill-disciplined society we live in .......... children learn more from their parents than from teachers, pastors, politicians etc ............. charity (and character) begins at home

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Cas0072 5 years, 8 months ago

I agree that Bahamians tend to go off on tangents, reacting to sideshows with more passion than to the more pressing issues. Maybe commenting and/or taking action on these side issues is simply a safe outlet for venting real frustration. Maybe it is the decades of training to conform and comply that keeps us silent in response to the most egregious issues facing the country. If this girl felt offended and embarrassed by the situation then good for her in standing up for herself. She is nearly an adult and she won't magically learn to stand up for herself at 18. Hopefully she won't just join the ranks of Bahamians who accept whatever.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

I was once told on my job, "you can't be the police", I don't keep silent, at the same time I don't like foolishness and fake puffrage.

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My2cents 5 years, 8 months ago

Failure to speak up and challenge small issues is why the country is in the state that it is in...babies do not walk before they creep. This "hair-style" is now making international news because it speaks to a deeper issue, the same issue that is making it possible for the foreign interests to take over.

I applaud the young lady and her mother for taking a stand on an issue that does not feel right to them, because it is not the typical Bahamian response. I hope the principal is not successful in grooming another generation of submissive PLP & FNM supporters.

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Cas0072 5 years, 8 months ago

It is embarrassing to be reprimanded about something so personal and downright offensive to those who take pride in their appearance. Maybe the principal believed that she was being helpful, but to say that the hair protruding from the band was not combed, tells me that she was judging by the relaxed hair standards to which we are more accustomed. A combed out afro would look like Einstein's hair, while a properly groomed afro would have been detangled when wet by a wide tooth comb or pick and patted into shape. Still, the end result of washing and detangling is specific to hair pattern and texture which cant be helped. If this is a trend among students, as the principal said, some research should do her well in setting forth clear guidelines as to what is age appropriate. It is still high school after all. However, if this is indeed about preparing students for the workplace, the fact is natural hair styles such as the one worn by the student are more common and more widely accepted in the workplace.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

The truth is we have no idea what the child's hair looked like on that day. You don't know if it was combed out or if it was "picky". The mother posted a photo of the child in the sane style with her hair looking quite neat and nothing at all like Einstein. But that photo was for the cameras, we have no idea what the principal saw.

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Cas0072 5 years, 8 months ago

This is not a new topic and the principal's reaction is not a new response. I believe her concerns were based on applying relaxed hair grooming standards to natural hair, because this is exactly the advice that is offered against going natural. If I am wrong, that means progress. I hope I am wrong.

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TruePeople 5 years, 8 months ago

Hey, until the GPA gets over a C- in the country... i don't really value any of the teachers suggestions or opinions... evidence is y'all ein no one to learn from... just sayin

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 8 months ago

The big picture issue is: are we black Bahamians just so ashamed of our blackness that we cannot accept natural hairstyles????????

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 8 months ago

So true ............ why show Sidney Poitier movies on ZNS and be ashamed of our blackness in 2016??????

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