Kempton Park school hair incident a Human Rights issue, says Lesufi

A group of girls were sent home from Windsor House Academy on Monday morning due to their hairstyles.

 Windsor House Academy in Kempton Park where pupils are complaining of unfair hair regulations. Picture: Hitekani Magwedze/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the situation at the Windsor House Academy is a Human Rights issue, which must be resolved before it robs pupils of their learning time.

A group of girls were sent home from the school on Monday morning because of their hairstyles.

Lesufi was at the private Christian school following reports of children with afros and braids being kicked out of the premises with their hair called "unruly".

According to the school's regulations, unruly hair is not permitted and must be plaited but pupils say they feel this rule victimises black girls.

A pupil at the school said: "I don’t know what we’re supposed to do because our hair is very unruly. It's known, it's unruly. People with afros know that our black hair is unruly.”

While there were reports that this is a racial problem, MEC Panyaza Lesufi says it’s a Human Rights issue but says the issue must be resolved immediately.

“They expressed it here openly that it is, but I’m very reluctant to go there. I really feel that it’s something that can be nipped in the bud. It’s a human rights thing more than anything else.”

The MEC has met with the principal and assured pupils that the school would rework the policies.

Lesufi has assured pupils at the academy that the school will no longer expel them on the basis of their hair.

“From now on there is no single learner that is going to be expelled from this school related to hair, henceforth.”

Lesufi has given the academy three months to rework its hair policies.

“I’m asking you girls to nominate five girls that will sit with management and they've got three months to sort out all the rules that affect you.”

Following a similar incident at the Pretoria Girls’ high last year, the MEC says this is the first case they are resolving at a private school.

He says the issue is serious but he is happy that the school is willing to comply with the department's decision.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)