Mom elated after court ruling - Court order prevents school from barring child because of dreadlocks

August 09, 2018

Sherine Virgo, the mother of the five-year-old child who was being barred from entering the Kensington Primary School in St Catherine because she has dreadlocks, is a relieved woman.

The Supreme Court last Friday granted an injunction against the board of management at the school, paving the way for the child to be admitted without having to cut her hair.

"It is good to know that the justice system is still there, and I am just happy that she can attend school. It is sad that we had to go this far, but I have to do what I have to do," Virgo said.

After The STAR broke the story that the child barred from school because of dreadlocks, human-rights group Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) rushed to court in order to protect her constitutional rights.

The school told the parents that their daughter had until August 29 to remove her locks to enter grade one in September, in keeping with the school's policy.

The human-rights group challenged the school's position on the basis that enforcement of the rule would violate constitutionally protected human rights of the child and her family.

The court is scheduled to hear the case in January 2019, but with the injunction preventing the school from locking out her child, Virgo said she can now breath easier.

"I am preparing her mentally for school, not only because we are going through this process, but she is coming from pre-school and she is used to her teachers doing things for her, but she is in a much bigger environment with bigger kids, so I need to prepare her," Virgo said.

The mother said Kensington Primary has an enviable reputation as a high-performing school and that is why she has been fighting for her child to be a student there.

"I am keeping certain things to the back of my head. I am not necessarily afraid [of sending her] because I am giving them the shadow of the doubt that they will not be biased against a child. It is not anything personal with the school, because they have a great programme and it is a good school. I am not trying to bring down the school in any way or form," she said.

Virgo said that when her daughter attended summer school, she made some friends and said she likes the teachers. She said that because of this, she knows that she made the right decision for her child.

"I used the three weeks of summer school to determine if she was a good fit for the school and so far they are treating her well. I think I made the right decision," she said.

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