Durban school changes hair policy after protest
Durban - Sastri College has agreed to amend its hair policy, following a demonstration at the school on Monday.
Deputy principal Santhosh Rajcoomar told The Mercury that between 150 and 200 pupils gathered outside the school on Monday morning to express their unhappiness with the school's rules pertaining to hair.
The group was largely made up of girls, but there were some boys, he said. It was completely unexpected, said Rajcoomar, who explained that the pupils felt the school's hair policy was "inconsiderate".
"We had a policy, up until 2014, that allowed girls to wear extensions, but then they began abusing this policy," he said.
Rajcoomar went on to explain that they would colour their hair and wear it in over-the-top styles (very curly, elaborate).
"So the school governing body revoked the policy in 2014," he said.
During Monday's demonstration, the pupils said they wanted the old policy reinstated.
"The school principal met with members of student leadership and there were a lot of questions and explanations thrown back and forth," Rajcoomar said.
"Ultimately, the old policy was put back in place and there was a commitment from the pupils that they would not abuse it."
The "Hair Code for African Learners Only (Girls)" for the school was signed on Monday and reads as follows:
* Extensions - maximum length is shoulder length.
* Straight hair - one ponytail at the base of the neck.
* Braids - only braid from front to back, 5mm in thickness, no beads at the end of braids.
* No Rasta extensions.
* No hair dyes.
* Own hair - not buffed up, only black narrow alice band allowed.
* Only black hair bands to be used for ponytails and clips.
* Hair must not fall on face (only fringe).
Rajcoomar likened Monday's demonstration to what happened in Pretoria last week.
Black pupils from Pretoria Girls' High marched during a spring fair against what they said was institutionalised racism and discrimination at the school.
This was after a black girl was taken to the principal's office and allegedly threatened with suspension after presenting an assignment about inequality in South Africa.
Pupils were protesting against the hair policy and against being questioned when they were in groups of two or more. They also said they were barred from using their home language.
The school's code of conduct has since been suspended.