Chikayzea Flanders, a Rastafarian boy who was told by Fulham Boys School to cut off his locs has won the right to keep his locs and return to school after a legal battle.
On his first day of secondary school in September 2017, Chikayzea was told his hair breached the school’s appearance policy. Also, he was placed in isolation for simply having locs. This led to his parents finding an alternative school for him to be educated at.
As a result, his mother, Tuesday Flanders started legal action against the school, calling the demand an attack on the Rastafarian religion.
A spokeswoman for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which funded the legal action, said the case was settled before it reached the High Court.
The spokeswoman said:
“Chikayzea Flanders and his mother have now reached an agreement with Fulham Boys’ School, with both sides accepting that the school’s enforcement of its uniform policy and ban on dreadlocks resulted in indirect discrimination.”
The spokeswoman for the EHRC said Chikayzea was welcome to return to Fulham Boys’ School provided his dreadlocks were tied up or covered with a cloth.
Chikayzea has chosen to not return to the school. Instead, he will remain at Hurlingham Academy, a school he transferred to after being mistreated at Fulham Boys School.
Tuesday Flanders, his mother welcomed the outcome but said her son’s hair was always tied back. She added:
“The whole thing is not a fashion for me or my family. All my boys have the same dreadlocks, my partner has the dreadlocks, my hair is down to my ankles. Why would I change it for a school? What message am I sending for my son? Am I saying it’s all right for people to dictate your religion and beliefs – what sort of society is this?”
“I didn’t want to take legal action. I pleaded with the school and tried to educate them. Other people went to the school and spoke to them and sent them letters explaining the meaning of my son’s hair.”
“I didn’t want my son’s face splashed all over the paper. It’s not right that parents have to go to this sort of length to get justice.”
“Chikayzea was badly affected by the case and took some time to settle at his new school but is now happy there. He is fine… the school has welcomed him and accepted him for who he is.”
David Isaac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:
“At the heart of this issue is a young boy who is entitled to express his religious beliefs and access an education, no child should be prevented from attending their chosen school because of inflexible uniform policies.”
For more information: School discriminated against Rastafarian boy by telling him to cut his dreadlocks