Hair at school—stirring up a controversy

A South African school has been accused of racism for allegedly telling black girls to straighten their hair and not wear afros.

Pupils at Pretoria High School for Girls have said they were forced to chemically straighten their hair and not have afros that were deemed untidy. Over the weekend, students donning afro hairstyles and braids held a protest at the school to voice anger against the alleged longstanding rule. (Read about it in the attached file.)

What issues does this raise about rights, prejudice and discrimination at this school, specifically? On a wider front: enforcing school uniforms and prescribed ways of wearing your hair—does that help to inculcate discipline, or is it exclusionary?

How best would you suggest building a socially cohesive culture based on respect and celebration of diversity?


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