Hair Discrimination Unacceptable – Culture Minister


Minister of Culture and Gender, Olivia Grange, has sought to clarify the government’s position on discrimination.

She says the government’s policy is in keeping with the Jamaican Constitution.

Ms Grange notes that the Constitution does not permit discrimination on the basis of religious or cultural practices or race.

Minister Grange says, it’s unacceptable for any person in Jamaica to be discriminated against, or denied services on the basis of how he/she wears his/her hair.

The Minister says she’ll be working with government entities to ensure that guidance issued on grooming and appropriate appearance for work or school does not target specific hair textures and hairstyles, race or religion.

Her comments come after it was reported that an opinion issued by the Attorney General’s Chambers on a matter involving a little girl left the child’s parent disappointed.

The then 5-year-old student was allegedly refused entry to a primary school because of her dreadlocks.

The child’s parents are said to be Rastafarians and do not cut their hair.

The child’s mother had reportedly filed a suit against the Attorney General last year suggesting that the school’s policy against the hairstyle was a breach of the child’s constitutional rights.

But an alleged opinion from the AG’s Chamber on the matter was said to support the school rule.

The media report says one of the rulings stated the rule was targeted at hairstyles that were found to be the source of bad hygiene and disorder in classes.

It further alleges these factors ultimately reduced the effectiveness of the teaching and learning experience.

It’s understood the matter’s to be heard in the Constitutional Court on Monday.

And although the Attorney General has sought to distance herself from the opinion, she’s come in for flak.

Neika Lewis is an award-winning journalist with over 7 years of experience across radio, tv and the print media. A CARIMAC alum, Neika copped the Prime Minister’s Youth award for journalism in 2017. Her reporting on a Jamaican pilot incarcerated in Qatar in 2015 led to his release. Neika hunts for human interest stories.

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