Young Rasta turned away from school

March 07, 2017
Antonio Brown shows his locks.

A young man from St Thomas, who was turned away from a Heart Trust/NTA academy institution yesterday morning because he refused to cut his 'young dreadlocked hair', breathed a sigh of relief when he learned that he will be able to attend school after his adopted father, reggae star Bushman, got involved.

Anthonio Brown, 20, from Duhaney Pen in the parish, said he was told by the authorities at the Portmore Heart Trust/NTA academy in St Catherine that he would have to cut his hair or wait until it is fully dreadlocked in order to attend the institution.

"The root of my hair is lock and dem a seh mi affi cut it or wait for six months when it is fully ras (locked) out," Brown said. "I am really happy now because it means I don't have to wait to get my qualification."




Brown, who was accepted in the welding programme at the institution, told THE STAR that he is urgent to learn the skill as he wants to be able to make a contribution to his family.

"My father died when I was 14 years old so I have step up as the man in the house," Brown said.

Bushman, whose real name is Dwight Duncan, said he was disappointed when he heard that Brown was turned away from school because of his hair.

"He is very hard-working and I was sad when I heard that this morning because his hair doesn't have anything to do with his ability to learn," Bushman said. "He told me that is underwater welding he wants to do and I am going to get him a welding machine for him so he can practise at home."

When THE STAR visited the institution, acting director/principal, Kevin Beale, said the Heart Trust/NTA is a non-discriminatory organisation.

"We don't discriminate based on religion. So if you are a Rastafarian, we allow you to complete your training. If you are not a Rastafarian and your hair is unkempt, then the employers that give us the three per cent (contributions to the trust) asked us to ensure that the trainees we send out to them are properly groomed," Beale explained.

THE STAR obtained documents that indicate that Brown declared on his application form that he is a Rastafarian. He was reinstated on this basis.

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