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Rastafarian student back in class with turban as case continues

Nairobi’s Olympic High School has complied with orders requiring the school to allow a Form One student who was suspended over dreadlocks back to class.

High Court judge Enoch Chacha Mwita on Tuesday ordered the school to immediately allow the girl to resume her studies pending determination of the case.

“Yes, she attended class,” said Mr Shadrack Wambui, the lawyer who is representing the minor’s father.

Justice Mwita also directed the girl to keep her hair net and covered by a black turban at all times.

Her father protested against the school’s decision to send home his daughter with instructions to cut off her dreadlocks.

According to her parents, they had indicated in her admission documents that she belongs to the Rastafarian Society of Kenya (RSK).

Her father unsuccessfully tried to persuade the school principal and deputy but the two rejected his pleas.

Frustrated, the father went to seek assistance from the education office based in Nairobi’s Kibera estate. But this did not bear any fruit as his complaint was summarily dismissed.

DISCRIMINATORY

As a result, the father of five filed the court case arguing the suspension of his was discriminatory.

But the school has told the court that the RSK has nothing to do with the right to education of students.

The school also claimed the girl wore a hijab on the day of her admission and verbally indicated that she was a Muslim and was admitted to a class that teaches Islamic religion.

The school principal Michael Waichinga disclosed that in the course of that day, her hijab fell off and exposed her dreadlocks.

It is then that she was told that she would only be allowed in class until she cut off her hair.

Mr Waichinga alleged that the sub-county director of education based in Kibra ordered for a quality assurance assessment report from the school based on the incident.

He also told court that the minor is not a member of the RSK according to their file at the Registrar of Society.

VIOLATING SCHOOL REGULATION

He alleged that the school does not practice religious intolerance against any person or student while insisting that the minor was rightfully sent away for violating a school regulation.

“My school does not discriminate against any student on any ground and admission is based on merit subject to the student’s compliance with applicable rules and regulations,” said Mr Waichinga.

The court will rule on case on May 3.​