Win for Girls Told to Straighten Natural Hair at High School



1BlessedNatural: Win for Girls Told to Straighten Natural Hair at Pretoria High School

The Black students at Pretoria High School for Girls in South Africa who said the school told them to straighten their have won their battle, for now. 

The ban on natural and all other styles has been temporarily suspended while the school's Code of Conduct is being reviewed. The removal of the ban was announced in a petition that was started to "stop the racism." To date, the petition has gained over 35, 000 signatures. 

It also states that a 21-day internal investigation will be performed on the school, policies, staff, and use of security measures for the students. It says,"The group that will review the Code of Conduct must include as wide a representation of the school as is practicable possible." In the school's Code of Conduct the students were not allowed to wear ponytails that would be seen from the front. This means no puffs or Afros. The hair had to be brushed back "neatly" into a ponytail and could not hang past the nape of the neck.

On August 26th, many of the students protested outside of  Pretoria High School for Girls. At the forefront of the protest was a 13-year-old student named Zulaikha Patel. When the students were told by guards they would be arrested, Patel held up her crossed wrists while she and other students yelled, "Take us!" The students have gained support from around the world.

The Department of Education in Gauteng released a statement to the media outlining their intervention at the school, some of which included the actions stated above. Aside from being told to straighten their hair, the students said they endured hurtful comments from other students and staff members. The press release said, "The learners feel that educators use abusive and demeaning language when they address them regarding their hairstyles. For instance some educators tell them they look like monkeys, or have nests on heir heads."

The Pretoria High School for Girls posted a letter on September 2, 2016 on their website, addressing their stakeholders. In the letter, the school makes a statement about racism by saying,"We wish to state categorically that we abhor racism and all forms of intolerance." Some of the things the school said they planned to do is perform an "organisational culture audit " and  "take remedial action based on the outcome of the audit."


1BlessedNatural: Zulaika Patel (photo cred: Facebook)




What do you think of the students' victory? 


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