School cornered to enrol pupil with long hair

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AUTHORITIES at the government-run John Cowie Primary School in Rusape have reportedly succumbed to pressure and enrolled a female pupil they had previously barred for sporting long hair.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

The school rescinded its decision after the girl’s parents engaged the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) for legal recourse, arguing that their child was being discriminated on religious grounds.

In November last year, ZLHR wrote to the school authorities, district and provincial education offices threatening legal action.

Part of the letter read: “We advise that our Constitution in Section 56 protects against discrimination based on religious belief. Our client is a member of the End Time Message Church. The church believes that a girl child’s hair cannot be barbed as hair is the covering for the head of a woman.

Morgan High School pupils

“Furthermore, freedom to religious beliefs is protected under Section 60 of the Constitution and the right to education under Section 75.

“Your action to refuse to enrol our client on the basis of her right to religious beliefs is in violation of the above-stated rights. Furthermore, your action is not supported by government policy or any other law. No one is above the Constitution and the laws of this country,” ZLHR said.

Fearing a legal backlash, the school relented and enrolled the pupil when schools opened for the first term last week.