Court clears way for dreadlocked child to start school

This is not an image of the child in the story.

KINGSTON, Jamaica -The Supreme Court of Jamaica granted an injunction last Friday preventing the board of management of the Kensington Primary School in Portmore, St Catherine, from blocking a five-year-old girl from entering the school because of her dreadlocked hairstyle.

The injunction was granted on a motion filed by Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ), a human rights group, on July 18 last on behalf of the parents of the child, who, last month, were given an ultimatum that their daughter had until August 29 to remove her locks to enter grade one in September in keeping with the school’s policy.

JFJ 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 and that no other remedy existed to prevent the threat of that violation, given the school’s demand.

Attorneys from the Attorney General’s Chambers, appearing on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, consented to the order.

“This is only the beginning of the process, and while there is much more to be done in court, we are pleased by the first order from the court to allow this child – who has done nothing wrong – to attend classes and obtain the education that she has a constitutionally protected human right to. Without this order, she could have faced the prospect of being denied an education,” JFJ said in a press statement.

The court is scheduled to hear the case in January 2019.

The lawsuit seeks multiple constitutional declarations, orders, and damages.