Row over HPP hair policy

MOKOPANE – This follows after a Gr 10 learner, Kamogelo Kekana, was expelled by the principal following a series of events after he was reprimanded about the length of his hair not being according to school policy.

The school’s code of conduct states: “The most important generally applicable prescriptions are that no fashion trend such as the “mullet”, “comb over”, “dreadlocks” or “afro”, and unnatural colouring of the hair can be allowed.

African learners – the hair should be the same length overall – up to a maximum of 1 cm in length. Non-African learners – The hair must be cut from the hairline up and must gradually become longer on top of the head. The fringe should be no longer than a finger width above the eyebrows if it is combed forward. The hair should not stand up for more than 4 cm on the head. The 4-point test for this prescription is applicable.”

Kamogelo’s mother told Bosveld: “My son received a letter on 7 March from the principal, Jimmy Steele, instructing him to cut his hair to the length of 1 cm and he was sent home to do so. He received one offense of uniform and/or appearance misconduct. He was also instructed to bring a parent with him to school the next day to speak to the principal about the offense.

“When my son went to school the next day he arrived late and I arrived at the school around 11:00 to speak with Steele as requested but I was told he was in a meeting. During that time Kamogelo received a letter from the principal instructing him to hand in his textbooks as he was being expelled for coming late and Kamogelo went directly to the circuit office to handle the matter. He then called me to inform me he was expelled and I subsequently decided to air the matter on Thobela FM. Our attorney handled the matter from there”.

Kekana’s advocate, Mphafolane Koma, said: “The Principal, Jimmy Steele, expelled this learner because his hair was too long. According to the school rules the hair of black learners may not be longer than 1 cm and the hair of white learners may not be longer than 4 cm. After the appearance in the High Court in Polokwane on Tuesday, the school was demanded to allow the learner back into school. Thus the learner is currently at school. I am planning to take the matter further to the Constitutional Court to declare this rule to be unconditional. The rule must comply of the same regulations apart from the learner’s race. On 17 April the school must appear before court again to finalise the arrangement of whether the school must pay the legal costs.”

Bosveld spoke to Steele and he said: “The school has a temporary court order, which must be followed, the rest of the case is sub judice”.

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