A young Rastafarian schoolboy will now be allowed to wear his hair in dreadlocks at school after winning a legal battle.
Chikayzea Flanders, 13, was told his hairstyle breached the appearance policy during his first day at Fulham Boys School in West London last year.
But his family, who are Rastafarian, launched a legal case against the school, claiming that the rules were discriminatory, according to the Mirror.
The boy’s mother, Tuesday Flanders, made an official complaint to the secondary school and said she found their response to be unsatisfactory.
The next step was to get lawyers, funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, brought in to deal with the matter.
They criticised the stringent uniform rules and argued dreadlocks represented a fundamental part of the youngster’s Rastafarian beliefs.
The MailOnline have reported that in a move that may force other schools to lift their ban on dreadlocks, the Church of England free school has backed down and admitted to indirect discrimination.
The school will now have to pay for the family’s legal costs and reach a settlement with Chikayzea and his mum.
It has also been ordered by the Governors’ Complaints Resolution Committee that more equality and diversity training needs to be given to staff.
As it happens, Chikayzea left the school after a month to go to a local academy. But Fulham Boys School has said he is welcome to return, should he wish to, provided that his dreadlocks are tied up so that they do not touch the top of his collar.
Welcoming the verdict, Tuesday told the MailOnline: “As parents we place our trust in schools and teachers to help mould our children’s lives through education, but that should never place restrictions on their identity or their ability to express their religious beliefs.”
“Not a fashion for me”
She explained to the Evening Standard: “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.
“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.”
According to the Mirror, Fulham Boys School head teacher, Alun Ebenezer, says they ‘had dealt with the complaint through our published complaints procedure’ and said Chikayzea was welcome to return.
He added: “Nearly 20% of our boys come from private schools and rub shoulders with the 40% of boys from socially deprived backgrounds.
“Our uniform policy means you don’t know whose parents earn millions of pounds and who comes from an area with real social deprivation. It shows that only character matters and raises aspiration.”