President of the Jamaica Association of Principals of Secondary Schools (JAPSS), Linvern Wright, said the Education Ministry needs to be clear on the grooming protocols for hairstyles in schools.
In an interview this morning, he urges the ministry to explain whether there should be one set of rules for teaching and another set for examinations.
“One of the point we need to look at is whether or not we are saying rules are good for teaching but not for exams. If we’re saying its school and its rules, we cannot have one rule for exams and one for schools…and in my mind I do not see why the examinations should be different in terms of sticking to the rules,” Wright stated.
Wright’s statements came in support of the recent actions of the principal of Wolmer’s Boys’ School who is at the centre of an investigation for barring some students from sitting their end of year exams yesterday due to a hairstyle infringement.
In a report earlier today, Wolmer’s Principal Dwight Pennycooke made it clear that no students were exempted on the grounds of religion and that an alternative assessment was arranged for the boys who were found in breach of the school’s grooming protocols.
However, JAPSS President, Mr. Wright expressed his displeasure at the resurfacing of public discussions surrounding hair grooming procedures. He highlighted sections of the school code regulations and again, calls on the Education Ministry to provide transparency and consistency for these rules.
“There’s a rule in the Code of Regulations which said a student should obey all the rules of the school that he’s attending. There’s a document that came out from the ministry which says that the board should set grooming policies. What I want to be clear about is whether or not the ministry figure that these things still matter because we cannot be sending the message of inconsistency,” he noted.
“…For me, if it is that grooming is not to be on our policies at schools, then they need to say it like that and if it is that there is a principal who really, in their mind, is not doing what the policy says, speak to that principal. I don’t know that it has to be as public as this because I don’t even know if that kind of thing is widespread,” Wright added.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry warns schools that students’ hairstyles should not prevent them from sitting their exams, as hairstyles are not a hindrance to learning and should not be used to exclude students from school. This statement was made in a media release yesterday.
Mckoy’s News Senior Writer- Natasha Williams