The Equality and Human Rights Commission says that school dress codes that ban afros and other ethnic hairstyles without allowing for exceptions on racial and religious grounds “are likely to be unlawful”. The equality watchdog said girls and boys with afro-textured hair or hairstyles were disproportionately affected by discrimination and warned that it could have serious long-lasting consequences for them. The new EHRC guidance, which is non-statutory and applies to schools in England, Scotland and Wales, says: “Discriminating against pupils in relation to or because of their hair may have a negative effect on pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. Indirect discrimination can happen when a school applies an apparently neutral policy or practice that puts pupils sharing a protected characteristic (for example, race) at a disadvantage compared to pupils who don’t share that characteristic.” Jackie Killeen, the chief regulator at the commission, said that “discrimination based on hair can have serious and long-lasting consequences for victims and their families”. L’myah Sherae, the founder of the allparty parliamentary group for race equality in education, also backed the guidance. “No child should be sent home from school for wearing their natural hair,” she said.
Source: The Independent